Korean Americans & Asian Americans from Illinois, California & Virginia Join Advocates & Families to Deliver Message in Support of President’s Immigration Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2016
Contact:
Emily Kessel, NAKASEC, eakessel@nakasec.org
Nayoung Ha, KRCC, nayoung@chicagokrcc.org
Jinkyung Park, KRC, jinkyung@krcla.org

Korean Americans & Asian Americans from Illinois, California & Virginia Join Advocates & Families to Deliver Message in Support of President’s Immigration Action

#FightforFamilies #UnfreezeDAPA #DACADAPAStrong

WASHINGTON DC – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the oral argument on President Obama’s deferred action initiatives, Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+). Over 50 Korean American and Asian American youth, seniors, and advocates from Illinois, California, and Virginia showed their support for the president’s immigration executive action by rallying in front of the Supreme Court and closing the program with a poongmul, Korean traditional drumming, performance. Ju Hong, the National Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) DACA Collaborative Coordinator also spoke on the importance of DAPA and DACA+ to the AAPI community by sharing why he created Halmoni (Grandmother), one of two documentaries featured in the National AAPI DACA Video Tour.

NAKASEC Executive Director Dae Joong Yoon, KRCC Executive Director Inhe Choi, and KRC Los Angeles Director Joon Bang, shared the following statement: “Today thousands of impacted community members and allies, including over 60 people from Illinois, California, and Virginia, rally in Washington D.C. along with the millions of American families across the country to demonstrate their support for the president’s immigration action. The Supreme Court has a real chance to promote justice and overcome the politics of hate against our families. A ruling against DAPA won’t just impact immigrant families; it’ll impact ALL families. DAPA and expanded DACA stand on the right side of the law. It’s time to end the suffering of families living in fear of being separated from their loved ones and have our country set the path forward towards a permanent fix, fair and humane immigration reform.”

The Supreme Court will make a decision on the future of the immigration initiatives by June 30. Texas and the plaintiff states in the lawsuit against the deferred action programs have more than 2.6 million U.S. citizens living with a DAPA-eligible family member. This includes an estimated 169,693 in Illinois, 898,420 in California, and 76,252 in Virginia (CMNY, 2014).

Daehee Cho, expanded DACA eligible community member from Chicago, Illinois said: “I came to the U.S. when I was 14 years old from South Korea to live with my aunt and her family and later moved out to live on my own. I tried to open my bank account, pay bills, and open a cell phone account, but could not because I did not have a social security number. It was only then that I found out I was undocumented. I had big dreams for myself, but was unable to pursue them because of my status. DACA expansion would allow me to freely dream about my future in the U.S. and visit Korea to see my family and also be able to come back home. It would benefit not only me, but hundreds of thousands of people like me, who are unhappy and living in fear of being separated from their loved ones.”

“My mother brought me to the U.S. when I was 8 years old, so we could be together, united, and start a better life. My mother worked day and night, taking care of my family, including my sick stepfather, but it was not enough to sustain our visa and we became undocumented. I was not able to obtain a driver’s license, and had to search for jobs that paid under the table. Not having the same opportunities as other people is really unfair. After high school, I had to pay more for college simply because I was undocumented. I need to work harder just to provide food on the table. DACA expansion would tremendously help all the undocumented immigrants who are struggling in life right now. If the program were implemented, it would help make people’s lives much easier. While I cannot be present in D.C. because of school and work, this is why I stand in solidarity with everyone traveling to D.C. for the April 18th mobilization. I am always grateful for all the students and parents who will participate in the mobilization to support undocumented students like me,” shared Kenneth Kim, DACA+ eligible community member from Los Angeles, California.

Bati Tsogtsaikhan, DACA recipient and impacted by DAPA community member from Arlington, Virginia, said: “I moved to the U.S. with my parents from Mongolia at the age of 10, graduated high school, received my associate’s degree in business administration from NVCC, and recently completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Finance at George Mason University. Back in February 2015, I was invited to share my story with President Obama and how DACA had opened doors for me to education. I want DAPA to do for my family what DACA did for me. I want my parents to have an opportunity to find fair paying jobs to better support my younger brother and not live in fear of being separated from my brother and me.”

“DACA has allowed me to travel back to South Korea to reunite with my ailing grandmother for the first time in over 13 years. Imagine what DAPA and expanded DACA could do for the millions of families and community members who would benefit from these programs. Throughout the National AAPI DACA Video Tour, we encourage AAPI communities to share a personalized sign with messages of support for DACA/DAPA,” shared Ju Hong, National AAPI DACA Collaborative Coordinator and the face behind Halmoni (Grandmother).