Since Asian Americans first began to immigrate to the United States almost two centuries ago, we have been framed as perpetual foreigners. Racist portrayals in film and television, references to COVID-19 as the “China Virus” and “Kung Flu,” and the murders of six Asian American women in Atlanta in March 2021 demonstrate the degree that Asian Americans are viewed as outsiders in our society. 

According to Stop AAPI Hate, 9,081 reports of anti-Asian hate were reported between March 2020 to June 2021, and these are only the incidents where the survivor felt comfortable and/or had the language access to report it. Undocumented community members are least likely to report incidents of anti-Asian hate. 

It’s time to create a pathway to inclusion and move away from anti-Asian hate.

Building an Equitable Immigration System
Asian Americans are the fastest-growing immigrant community in the country. Almost 60% of our community are immigrants, and despite the model minority myth, we struggle with language and cultural barriers, racism and white supremacy, and lack of access to America’s social, economic, and political institutions. Moreover, out of the 11 million undocumented community members living in the United States, almost 2 million are Asian American.

Lack of immigration status forces our community members into the shadows, where they must work in an underground economy to put food on the table, and are denied driver's licenses, in-state tuition, bank accounts, and home loans, and every day have to fear deportation and separation from their family members.

Eun Jin from Pennsylvania, an undocumented Korean American community member, shared, “Because of my lack of status, my children could not go to college, and because I could not drive, my children were limited even more in their studies and activities. My daughter had so many dreams growing up. She was the kind of kid who wanted to try out so many things. But, she had to hear so many, ‘no’s’ and ‘you cannot do this’ and ‘you cannot do that.’ I fear for my children every day. I fear that we might come across ICE, that ICE might raid our home. If we get citizenship, my children and I will be able to choose and live our lives on our own terms, doing what we really want to do.” 

[Read Eun Jin’s full story here and hear from one of our young leaders from Illinois, Glo Choi, here.] 

As a national organization with grassroots affiliate bases in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, and Texas, NAKASEC's mission is to organize Korean and Asian Americans to achieve social, racial, and economic justice. 

As an Asian American network that engages the most vulnerable members of our community, which include the low-income, limited English proficient, recent immigrants, undocumented, women, senior citizens and young people, and as a community with Japanese internment camps as part of our history in the United States, we have been organizing since 1994 towards a vision of equity and equality for all people. 

But there cannot be equity and equality for all people if our immigration system continues to be broken, particularly for communities of color. And anti-Asian hate will not stop if we continue to be framed as perpetual foreigners. 

It is not enough for our government just to say we belong and the anti-Asian hate should stop. If this country truly wants to embrace Asian Americans and immigrants, they must act: Provide a pathway to citizenship for our undocumented community members and stop separating our families. These actions are a concrete recognition by our government that this is our home and will make a real difference in our community members’ lives.

Towards these goals, NAKASEC launched our Citizenship For All Campaign. Through this campaign we educate, organize, and advocate to fix our broken immigration system. This will move us one step closer to full citizenship for all, where all people have access to the fundamental human rights of quality food, housing, healthcare, education, communication, transportation, and a healthy environment.

Some ways to take action:

  • Become a member of NAKASEC: By becoming a member, you will help build the power needed to make change for everyone.
  • Volunteer: We need people power! Contact our Community Organizer, Anooshka Gupta, at
  • Give: Your donations to NAKASEC will support vital movement-building work to achieve immigration reform and racial justice.