On December 7, 2010, Mrs. Choi shared the story of her sons during the Los Angeles DREAM Act vigil, held the night before the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.
It was the first time she shared the dreams of her sons publicly. Please read below.
Good evening. My name is Young Nam Choi and I am a mother of two young men whose lives would be changed with the passage of the DREAM Act.
I am grateful for the work that all of you do to fight for justice, and glad I met the Korean Resource Center and NAKASEC to gain more support in the middle of our struggle. Today, at this candlelight vigil before a vote on the DREAM Act, I want to tell you about my sons.
When my family entered the USA in 1994, my sons were 7 and 8 years old. My husband was offered a job so we made the big move, leaving behind family, friends and Korea. After that we’ve never been able to return.
Since we arrived, for the past 16 years we have spent lots of time and money hiring lawyers and paying fees trying to get a green card. A few months ago we received a final notice of denial from the USCIS, and my sons received removal notices.
My eldest son is very smart and graduated this year with a major in Science of Management. Since graduation, he interviewed for multiple jobs. At one interview, when he was asked to share 3 lessons learned from his parents, my son said, “Integrity, Honesty and Hard Work.”
But in the end, no company hired my son because of his status. He was so upset, and said, “After all these years of studying, I can’t do anything.”
My younger son is a very talented musician, a sweet boy and in his 3rd year of college. He doesn’t complain about his situation, but is very positive.
My 2 boys have never received a grant or scholarship. They worked their way through school.
When I talk to my sons about our situation, I always tell them, “Do not be discouraged and do not be ashamed of who you are. We have spent 16 years in America and have done what we could do legally to change our status.
My sons are young, beautiful, pure and gentle. I don’t want their talent, enthusiasm and ability to be wasted.
They came with us and they came to love this country as their home. They speak in English, write in English, and sing in English.
I want to tell those who are unsure or oppose the DREAM Act to look at them! If they are still unsure, I say, “You don’t know because you didn’t look into their hearts.”
They are not only my sons but children of this country. And all the young men and women are not burdens on our society, but our future generation of leaders.
To give them a chance to be an American is not losing your wealth, but is a great investment. This is their future, our future, America’s future. Be proud of them. Appreciate their efforts. And let them dream.