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David Han’s Story

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The Han Family

The meaning of my family to me is love and hope. Family doesn’t always have to be blood related. It can be anyone who supports you, care for you, and love you.

I was born in Busan, South Korea. My father was abusive and a drunk. He would always come home drunk and never was really there for the family or  make money to help out. I still remember and have memories of my father abusing my mother and sometimes me even though I was a baby. My mom couldn’t handle the domestic violence at home anymore. She decided to moved to the United States for a better life for her and for me and my sister.

We were very poor and we couldn’t afford to get on a plane and fly to the United States. She found a way from Korea to the U.S. The trip from Korea to the U.S. was very difficult and hard considering we didn’t take a plane. It was more difficult for my mom because she took me and my sister with her. We came to the U.S. through a ship and a cargo truck and we came to Los Angeles through Mexico. It was a very long trip and it was a miracle that we even made it all the way to Los Angeles in one piece.

My mom is my hero and role model because she sacrificed herself and everything she had to bring us here to make sure that we have a better life. I always thank God because without his love and support, I think I would have never made it to the U.S. I came to the Los Angeles, California in 1998. I was 2 years old at the time and we had absolutely nothing. We had no money, no house, and no food. Luckily, my mom found a friend and she took us in for a year. After we left the house we lived in, we found a church that a family lived in and lived there for 2 years and we became a part of that family. That is when God became an important part of my life.

Once my mom got settled in, we moved out and finally found an apartment of our own, which was a block away from the church. We started with nothing and now we had everything that we needed to live. We had a home, food, and clothes and shoes. My immigration status never really had an effect on me because I was young, but my mom had a lot of worries that we were going to get deported back to Korea or to Mexico.

There was a time when I thought we were going to get deported. I was 10 years old at the time and I had a babysitter because my mom worked at night. My babysitter disappeared in the middle of the night and left me and my sister alone. My sister always had nightmares at night and woke up crying. I never knew how to stop it and so the neighbors called the cops on us and me, my mom, and my sister went to the police station. Luckily, we came out safely. When I was 5, I broke my arm and I had to go to the hospital. I was taken to USC hospital and got surgery. We were poor, had no health care, and couldn’t afford to pay for the medical bill, but the USC hospital took care of all our medical bills and paid it for us instead. We were grateful and thankful for their generosity. This was another miracle that I am grateful for.

Up until high school, I didn’t know what an immigrant was or if I was even an immigrant. I was just living my life like everybody else without worrying about my status. In my junior year in high school, I learned that I was an immigrant and that I wasn’t like everybody else. I couldn’t get a job, drive, or go to college. I lost hope in everything and gave up on everything. I thought that no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t going to get into a good college because I was undocumented. I started slacking off in school and I skipped school for a month. Once I found out about a non profit organization called Korean Resource Center through my friend Helen Cho, I started getting my hopes up and my motivation back. I found out that I wasn’t the only immigrant and that there were many other people who were in the same position as me. At first, I was really nervous to tell my friends and the people at KRC that I was an immigrant because I thought that they would judge me or single me out because I was not a citizen. When I finally got the courage to tell my friends and KRC that I was an immigrant, they welcomed me with open hearts and open arms. It felt like I was a part of the KRC family.  A fellow KRC member and friend (Kevin Lee) helped me when I was lost and didn’t know anything about immigration. He supported me and helped me see the bright side of life and status. He said ” Whatever you set yourself out to and as long as you work hard, opportunities will always be open.”

KRC helped me a lot with my immigration status and also helped me with my DACA. My DACA has finally arrived and I believe that I can achieve anything if I work hard for it. I really want to thank my friends that are always there for me and support me and the people who supported me til this day and still continuing to support me. I truly want to thank my mom for bringing me into this world and raising me til this day. I have high hopes  and goals for my future and I support immigration reform. I believe that kids who have came to the U.S. at a young age should get the same education and life of a U.S. citizen.

David Han (Los Angeles, California)



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