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Immigrants cycling from Seattle to San Diego stop in Fresno to talk about citizenship

Jung Woo Kim, 33, of Los Angeles, talks about raising awareness about citizenship for undocumented immigrants at the University Presbyterian Church in Fresno, California on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018.
Jung Woo Kim, 33, of Los Angeles, talks about raising awareness about citizenship for undocumented immigrants at the University Presbyterian Church in Fresno, California on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018. apanoo@fresnobee.com

A group of mostly Asian immigrant youth who are biking their way down the West Coast stopped in Fresno this weekend, as they rally for citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

The Journey 2 Justice tour began in Seattle on Aug. 1, and the group plans to end the 37-day trip in San Diego on Sept. 5, the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gave young immigrants in the U.S. illegally the chance to work and remain in the country.

A group of about 30 attended services at the University Presbyterian Church on Sunday, eating lunch and resting before they make their way to Visalia on Monday.

Jung Woo Kim, 33, said the plight of Asian immigrants is sometimes misunderstood by the public. “It’s not just about Latino issues, it’s also Asian-American issues we need to address. There are more than Dreamers out there,” he said. “It can be more inclusive.”

He said there is a high number of Korean immigrants, especially living in Los Angleles’ Korea Town, who are undocumented. “ I don’t think many people who live in the U.S. know about that.”

Alice, a 23-year-old UCLA student who did not want her last name used for fear of reprisal, said she has had to take a break from attending college because her immigration status is hurting her ability to make money.

Alice said she challenges those who are against providing citizenship for undocumented immigrants to ask themselves why.

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Alice, the founder of Soju Speakwear, has been riding her bike to raise awareness of undocumented immigrants like herself. Ashleigh Panoo apanoo@fresnobee.com

“Why are you asking why we should provide access to healthcare, education, all the basic human rights that people deserve, not because they’re bad, not because they’re good, but only because they’re human beings?”

Alice said the group made a stop at UC Berkeley and were able to speak with members of the Asian American community and the university about the change the group would like to see.

“I want people to think about what that piece of paper really means,” she said.

The group has been riding for six to eight hours a day, and camped for 10 days when they couldn’t find housing along the route. They’ve also had to change routes due to the Northern California and Oregon wildfires. But Kim said he is feeling hopeful about change.

“This is our home,” he said, “my home. We have a right to enjoy it.”

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