Korean activist arrested at Irvine congresswoman’s office

Dae Joong Yoon, president of the Korean Resource Center. Photo: Korean Resource Center

The president of the Korean Resource Center Thursday was arrested in an act of civil disobedience at the office of a Republican congresswoman.

Dae Joong Yoon, 47, of Redondo Beach, refused to leave a meeting with the staff of Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Irvine, prompting them to call police, Yoon said.

Activists from labor and immigrants rights groups held a protest outside Walters’ office Thursday morning. Since a boisterous rally in April, however, protesters have been blocked from entering the building housing Walters’ office, Yong Ho Kim of the Korean Resource Center said.

“We had some folks who snuck in early to the building,” Kim said.

That group met with staff, Yoon said.

“We ran in with a signed petition with three or four thousand signatures from her district,” Yoon said.

The group demanded to know if Walters would support legislation offering the children of undocumented immigrants the right to remain in the country without fear of deportation, Yoon said. They were told Walters was investigating the various bills that seek to protect the so-called Dreamers, but hadn’t made up her mind if she supported the proposals.

In September, when President Donald Trump announced he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Walters called for a “permanent legislative solution to provide certainty to the young people who were brought to America as children without the proper documents through no fault of their own.”

Walters said then that the U.S. “is the only home most of these young people have ever known and it is unjust to punish them for the actions of their parents. Congress should work to ensure their residency so that they can continue to contribute to our community and strengthen our nation.”

Yoon said his group has grown impatient and want to know when Walters would make an announcement on support for any legislation to protect the immigrants.

“I said give us a timeline, one week or two weeks, and until she can give us a timeline we cannot just go home because our people are worrying about their future every day,” Yoon said.

Members of Walters’ staff called her Washington, D.C., office and then told Yoon and the others no timeline on an announcement would be forthcoming, according to Yoon.

“The other members left, and I told them I just cannot go home,” Yoon said. “We need more information on when she’s going to make her announcement.”

“I believe this is a very important cause, because many of our young people shouldn’t be worried about their future,” Yoon said. “They deserve better than living in limbo.”

Next week, about 45 members of the Korean Resource Center will join a larger lobbying group who will seek to take their concerns to Congress, he said.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the group will lobby the Orange County delegation, including Walters, Yoon said.

Yoon was booked on suspicion of trespassing and released, Kim Mohr of the Irvine Police Department said.

–City News Service