A group of about 11 cyclists biked into Bakersfield Tuesday afternoon. The group was comprised of mostly Asian-American immigrants whose citizenship status is in jeopardy due to immigration policies.
They embarked on their bike journey in Seattle at the beginning of August, stopping in various towns throughout the west coast, with their eventual goal being San Diego.
“We believe migration is a human right,” said Glo, a 26-year-old Korean-American who did not want to give his last name out of the concern it would catch the attention of law enforcement officials.
Glo, who lives in Chicago, came to America with his family when he was four years old, and has not obtained citizenship
The cyclists have made stops in Portland, San Francisco and Sacramento, sometimes biking up to 90 miles a day to get to their next destination.
The National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, a grassroots advocacy organization with offices in Virginia, Chicago and Los Angeles, organized the bike ride as a public awareness campaign advocating for a route to citizenship for all non-citizens residing in America.
The ride comes at a time of great uncertainty for many seeking citizenship in the country.
In March, the Trump Administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that had been created in 2012. Numerous federal courts have blocked the order, leaving DACA recipients in limbo while the law is worked out.
Another rider, Alice, 23, who also did not want to give her last name out of similar concerns, is one of those U.S residents who have seen their lives disrupted by the country’s unsteady immigration policy.
She was brought to the country from Korea when she was 13 years old by her parents, who she said wanted to provide her with a better life.
“I’m not less American, I’m not less of a human being because I don’t have a piece of paper,” she said.
She got into UCLA, but is currently taking a year off after three years to reevaluate if the tuition is worth the end product.
She is not eligible for financial aid, making the approximately $60,000 yearly cost a hefty price tag.
As a participant in the bike ride, she said she hopes the ride will help humanize undocumented immigrants and their families.
The cyclists, who call themselves the Dream Riders, met with the United Farm Workers at Mill Creek Christian Church Tuesday evening for a dinner with local community activists.