Thursday, November 18, 2010

AAK! PSA: Support the DREAM Act

This little bit of news came over the wire:
UCLA Bruin Marching Band drum major David Cho ... has been a vocal proponent of the DREAM Act. In August Cho, a Korean-American who also arrived here as a child, discussed his immigration status on the social-justice blog Citizen Orange as part of collection of posts titled “DREAM Now Series: Letters to Obama.”

From Cho’s “letter:”

While most of my friends will enter the workplace after graduation, I will not be able to even put my name down on a job application because of my status. I’m a hardworking student with a 3.6 GPA and I am the first Korean and actually the first undocumented student to ever become the conductor, the drum major of the UCLA Marching Band in UCLA history.

My parents brought me to this country when I was only nine years old. I went to school not knowing a single word of English, and I often became my classmates’ object of ridicule – many bullies perpetually and ignorantly harassed me. My reaction to this harassment was to study harder, for I was determined to overcome my obstacles and excel in everything that I did. I studied hard and graduated from my high school with a 3.9 GPA.

It was not until my freshman year of college when I found out about my immigration status. I asked my parents for my social security number when filling out my application for UCLA. There was a long pause.
Über-achiever student? Check. Undocumented? Check. [Southern California Public Radio]

The article also discusses Mr. Pedro Ramirez, president of the student government at California State University, Fresno, who is likewise an illegal immigrant who achieved a great deal.

Can there be any doubt that America needs young people like Mr. Cho and Mr. Ramirez? It is the plain ludicrity of American immigration laws that turns away talented individuals who desperately want to contribute to its society. You can help end this stupidity, because the proposed DREAM Act will grant permanent residency to young people like Mr. Cho and Mr. Ramirez by either committing to the military for eight years of service, or earning a bachelor's degree.

Please join the Korean and sign the petition for the DREAM Act, and join the DREAM Act Facebook group. Some of you with a Facebook account may have already received a cause invite from the Korean -- please join. This is important. Thank you in advance.

Got a question or comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. Reminds me of this story:

  2. You need to ask your present predicament to your parents and not to the government for forgiveness. What did your parents do during the last two amnesty programs offered?

    Since now you know your status, you will need to amend it by becoming legal within the current system. One is to marry a resident and that shouldn't be hard at UC schools, and then apply for a residency; another is to join the military for an opportunity to be a legal citizen. There are other options that you can discuss with immigration lawyers, but don't expect to bend the law any further.

    Life is the choices you make, and that eventually will bring fruits that you will bear. Your parents did not and you are the result of it. Now make a right decision, and not blame this country.

    If you take a trip to Korea right now, you will be apprehended and handed over to the draft board because of your age and citizenship.

    I also emigrated at age 9, but we made the choice for law.

  3. Ross, I noticed few shortcomings in your response, and I think you should review America's current immigration laws again. An undocumented individual may become a citizen through marriage(generally), but is prohibited from joining US armed forces. Also, when you mention 'last two amnesty programs', you may be referring to the 1986 IRCA or an obscure Clinton bill (INA sec. 245(i)) that allowed for limited legalization; Cho and others in similar situations would not have been eligible for either of these legislations, so there's no point criticizing them.

    I also believe that punishing children for their parents' crimes belong in the bygone times. Some may have read of debtor prisons of 19th century where entire families were incarcerated for an individual's error. In addition, you should consider yourself very lucky for having guardians that had resources to immigrate here legally. Please don't condemn these young men for being less fortunate.

    Realistically, Cho and others are stuck. There are no real means for them to participate in the society legally. Mr. Cho's 3.6 GPA will mean nothing to potential employers, and Mr. Ramirez's history of leadership will be downright ignored without the DREAM act.

    I believe that, regardless of how these young people arrived here - by birth or some artificial means- Americans should embrace these fine, productive people and allow them to contribute to the Union. We can't waste these precious human resources only because these unfortunate men do not have a legal presence.

  4. I support the Dream Act and immigration reform that includes a path to legal residency for undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements, but let me correct this misunderstanding:

    "I also believe that punishing children for their parents' crimes belong in the bygone times."

    Imposing a fine or jail time is punishment. Not giving green cards or deporting people who are not here lawfully is not punishment. It is enforcement of the law.

  5. I love how these illegal immigrants blame everyone but themselves for their predicament. This guy's parents made some bad decisions. People all over the world make bad decisions. Why should I pay for that?

    The other irony is how the countries they come from treat illegals compared to America. Try to be an illegal immigrant in Mexico or Korea--especially Korea.

    My heart goes out to this guy. But my heart goes out to lots of people in unfortunate situations and there are lots of people in worse situations than he is in. He should just suck it up and do what needs to be done--enough with the whining already. That's just a bad habit he picked up in America.

  6. sungoh,

    Actually, not even marriage to a citizen allows a permanent residency to an illegal immigrant.


    The Korean does not understand your point. Punishment, in one sense (that you use), is a subset of the enforcement of the law. In another sense, robbing a person his only home he has ever known may fairly be considered a punishment.


    1)It is precisely because you paid that we must retain these young people. We made an investment into their minds in the form of schooling, and we are about to be paid for our investment. Now we are just going to throw it away? That makes sense?

    2) Actually, people like Mr. Ramirez and Mr. Cho would not be an illegal immigrant in Korea in the first place, because Korea actually has much more liberal immigration policy than the U.S.

  7. How and why exactly do Koreans enter America illegally? I presume that they overstayed a legitimate visa in this case. What are cases typically like?

    I've met lots of illegal immigrants in Korea. Aside from health insurance and, of course, employment, the difference between an undocumented and documented person is not that great.

    Aside from that, lots of labourers work illegally in factories, often overstaying visas, and lots of Westerners work illegally as teachers on tourist visas. For practical purposes, there's not much difference between how they live and how I live. Life is really not that bad for them.

  8. Dear Korean,
    Perhaps Korean immigration policies are more liberal, but just overstay your visa by one day and you'll find yourself banned from visiting or living in Korea. As for Mexico, I believe if you enter the country illegally you end up in prison--no questions asked. More liberal? I don't think so...

    BTW: The question isn't about liberal immigration policies, it is about entering a country illegally and living there illegally and then expecting that there be no consequences for breaking the law.

  9. I am from canada... it wont let me sign

  10. grandma,

    The Korean does not know much about Mexico, but from what he knows about Korea's immigration laws, you are completely off base. If you think the Korean is wrong, perhaps you can cite a law or regulation.

  11. " In another sense, robbing a person his only home he has ever known may fairly be considered a punishment."

    So if a family decides to immigrate to the US against the wishes of one or more children, is that punishment? After all, the child immigrant is being robbed of the only home he has ever known.

    I would actually be in favor of a clause providing a path to citizenship for any child who was raised here, but with certain conditions. We are seeing an increasing number of teens and preteens crossing the border on their own. We do not want to provide any additional inducements for teens to hop trains in Guatemala or for parents to pay smugglers $4,000 to hide their kid in a car trunk.

  12. "Punishment, in one sense (that you use), is a subset of the enforcement of the law. "

    Yes, but not all law enforcment is punishment. A person found to be residing illegally in the US may be put through deportation. He or she may also receive a bar on re-entry. The deportation is a corrective action of removing someone without a legal right to reside in the US while the bar is punitive.

  13. People that overstay visas in Korea aren't banned from returning. The Internet is full of people who report things like there being a 14-day grace period or having overstayed a visa and being given a stern warning at the airport.

    Here we get the threat of an overstay "[complicating] any future plans to return on a work visa and cause you delays and penalties when leaving. "

  14. In reply to SONGOH; I am currently serving in the "sand box" with those who have entered US illegally, and currently they are serving in our Armed forces for that opportunity to be part of the American Dream.

    Don't know where you are implying that this is not done. Please come over to my "sand box" for examples.

    As to other two amnesty program mentioned, the disconnect here is what is practiced and what is stated on the Bill. Since I am not a lawyer, I can only point to those around me who have gained the road to becoming a legal resident.

    Sorry you sound like many who wants the American Dream at the cost of breaking someone elses chance to obtain one.

  15. This is a very touchy subject because it will open up other problems as well. I cannot support the Dream Act without considering how it will affect our own students. While I may be generalizing here, most of the immigrant students came to this country are poor and will need government assistance in order to pursue higher education. Here is the problem I am not happy with. The education system is already suffering from lack of funds and support for our students trying to make it, it cannot and will not be able to shoulder the additional burden of the undocumented and illegal immigrants. Does it make sense to compound the new undocumented in with the already poor citizens struggling to go to school, thereby exacerbating an already stressful problem? No, it is not practical and to say otherwise is ignoring the problem altogether. It is time to consider and promote our needs before others'.

    To answer to Sungoh's last paragraph, it sounds too liberal that it is overlooking the consequences for future job markets. We, as a nation, is already coping with limited jobs, outsourcing and unemployment. How do you think the unemployment rate will fare when you include in these "precious human resource," not to mention the millions more who will cross the border if your Dream Act is indeed passed as a precedent. You and I both know that granting amnesty will only entice more illegal immigrants to come here. You cannot just say the Dream Act will only be for so-and-so figure for now but must take into account the future number as well. It just won't work. Like Ross have demonstrated, there are alternative methods to gaining a citizenship but it requires work on their part. You just can't have it all, especially if you are here illegally in the first place.

  16. See what happens when a populace have a strong opinion about something that they don't understand the details? We're talking about illegal immigrants, and people here are saying "Why don't they marry a citizen?", "Why don't they just join the military?" or "Why don't they just become legal?"

    Everyone so far have outclassed Marie Antoinette's famous "Why don't they just eat cake?" bit in terms of cluelessness.

  17. A U.S. Senator helped my family come to the U.S. even though my father was a US citizen. Congress made some stupid laws to prevent kids fathered by the US military from entering the US. The law was changed in the 80s and lots of Asian kids fathered by the US military were allowed to come to the US.

    I have mix feelings on the “Dream Act.” I would support the Dream Act if it stated that if you want to be a US citizen; you must serve in the military and not be on welfare for at least 10 years.

    I am against the illegal immigrants that are a tax burden to our society. For example, there is talk of raising my taxes because a public hospital is going bankrupt because it gives free health care to the illegal immigrants. I would support a “red card program” that requires all non-citizens that work in the US to be track and have them pay their proper payroll taxes and other taxes. The non-citizens on the “red card system” can only work for jobs approved for the “red card system.” The non-citizens would pay a yearly fee of $1,000 to be on the “red card work system” and pay another yearly fee of $1,000 for health insurance. The fee from the red cards would pay for a centralize immigration database system that would link all the federal, state, and local systems. The new computerized system would make it easier for our law enforcement, because they just scan the card and get all the information on the person.

  18. Hate to break it to you but the dream act is going nowhere. I work on the Hill, and trust me, immigration is way at the bottom of the list on legislators' agendas right now. On the one hand I support it, but on the other hand it could be a bulwark to comprehensive immigration reform, and what we really need is to overhaul the whole system.

  19. The DREAM act is most useful for illegal Korean and Chinese immigrants, since they are the ones that are really interested in higher education. Hispanics are nowhere near as interested in education as orientals are, so this bill would not be as beneficial to them. Well, I suppose it might entice Hispanics to pursue higher education at higher rates. Can you believe that Hispanics are less interested in college than blacks? In any case, this bill wouldn't really impact Hispanics all that much, since I doubt any more of them would come over the border after hearing about the great educational opportunity. Most of them are NOT INTERESTED. The orientals stand to gain the most from the DREAM act. Can you imagine the number of FOBs that would be lining up for this?

    Everyone knows that college is a bastion of liberalism. I would approve of illegal immigrants going to college for STEM degrees, but would not like them to go to third rate schools to study "ethnic studies" and become indoctrinated in the tenants of liberalism. They would provide no additional value to our society by learning this rubbish, in fact, it is very possible that they would subtract value! In any case, us orientals aren't usually too interested in "ethnic studies" and the like, so maybe this act would be a good thing. Most US higher education is a joke, anyways, and anyone with an average IQ these days can graduate with a degree. Graduating college isn't as big of an accomplishment as before.

    The job market for US college graduates these days is rough.

  20. I am a Korean American AGAINST the Dream Act. Can't they come to the US the legal way like my parents and every other honest immigrants?

  21. I do support the DREAM act on its principle! But as with the Health Care bill, its terrible timing! With a shitty economy, Americans are in no mood to be charitable? This only adds to the immigrant bashing that a shitty economy brings!


Comments are not available on posts older than 60 days.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...