February 18, 2015
Jong-Min You's Personal Statement at the NYIC Press Conference on Federal Injunction against Obama's Executive Order
Hello, My name is Jong-Min You and I am here with the MinKwon Center for Community Action. I am a Elder Dreamer and undocumented New Yorker who did not, and could not, apply for DACA in 2012. I had actually missed the cutoff by one year.
Today, February 18th, I would have been eligible to apply for the expanded DACA according to Obama’s executive action announced in November. But yesterday, a federal judge in Texas said otherwise. So here am I standing with you, instead of having already submitted my application.
Ironically, part of my own dream is to become a federal judge – but one who understands the intricacies of the undocu-life when applying the laws of immigration.
My own story is that I grew up in Brooklyn, and I attended Mark Twain and Stuyvesant high school. And I had finished college with magna cum laude honors in 2003 - more than 11 years ago. Since then, I've worked at a pizzeria, a flower store, construction sites and my parents' grocery store because these were the only jobs available to me. And while I will never look down upon those jobs, because all those people work as hard as anybody on this planet, esp those people here at the SEIU, I aspired for something different. Something that would challenge me and that I would love to do. Federal judgeship, of course!
Expanded DACA gives me hope that I can finally move on. While it’s blocked now, I will continue to fight for it and apply when it becomes available. And another reason why I'm standing here as an undocumented Asian and the importance of it all is that - Many in the Asian community bear a shame and sigma from their status - their undocumented status. And I hope that they too can speak out, and break those chains by applying. And likewise, turn around and empower their families and their communities. Mind you - We’re all in this together. Let's continue to work together because DACA is just a start, a stepping stone for what we really need. We still need legislation. We need to pass the Dream Act and Immigration Reform with a pathway to Citizenship for All!
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The MinKwon Center for Community Action was established in 1984 to meet the needs and concerns of the Korean American community through immigrant rights and political empowerment. The MinKwon Center has emerged as a leading organization in building a sustained community for marginalized individuals, including recent immigrants, minorities, low-income residents, limited English proficient persons, elderly and youth.