Meeting With Menendez

Near the end of the movie, you will see me crying out of frustration during a meeting with Senator Menendez.  Momentum had turned against us and Menendez had just blamed us for the severely flawed... Read More


Karen Narasaki

We knew of Karen before we started filming because she is such a prominent figure in the immigrants' rights world. She is President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center and a leading civil rights advocate. When we told Karen about our project, to be honest she seemed a little horrified that anyone would actually do it-- but she agreed to help us out.

Karen's organization represents Asian Americans of all ethnic groups, an extremely diverse constituency with accordingly varied needs. In the immigration reform debate, the family unity question was one of the highest priorities for Karen since the family-based visa backlog is particularly long for many on Asian countries. Karen wasn't usually at the conference tables for the long policy meetings we filmed but her voice carried a lot of weight with the Senators.

Civil rights, especially in the post 9/11 era when many Asian communities are targeted, is just as central to Karen's work. Some of the compromises which Senators made in the immigration debate were gut wrenching choices for the advocates. For Karen, those issues are complicated on a personal level because her parents were among the Japanese Americans interred during WWII, under the same draconian logic that some government officials advocated after 9/11.

These days Karen chairs the Family Coalition, a group that includes faith based and immigration groups focused on policies to fix the family visa system. She also chairs the Rights Working Group, a coalition of civil liberties, human rights, civil rights, immigrant rights and faith based groups working to restore the due process and human rights that have eroded since 9/11. It is involved in the CIR debate trying to prevent further erosion of our nation's basic principles of fairness and due process in any new enforcement scheme and to restore judicial review and discretion, alternatives to detention, and bring greater accountability to the Department of Homeland Security.

Karen is on the management team for the Reform Immigration for America campaign, with active affiliates organizing their communities in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago. She is also a featured blogger for How Democracy Works Now.

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