Undocumented Student Heckles Obama About Immigration, President Responds

Story by James S. Kim. 

A Korean American activist for immigration reform interrupted President Barack Obama during a speech at the Betty Ong Center in San Francisco on Monday.

Ju Hong, 24, has been vocal about the rights of undocumented people, and he was standing behind Obama when he began shouting, NBC Bay Area reports.

“I need your help,” Hong said. “My family will be separated on Thanksgiving,” he said. “Please use your executive order. You have the power to stop deportation.”

Others in the crowd joined in, shouting, “Stop deportation, yes we can.”

When Secret Service agents rushed in to remove Hong from the crowd, the President said he could stay, prompting cheers from the audience.  Obama then responded by insisting he does not have that power to bypass Congress on the issue.

“I respect the passion of these young people,” he said. “But we’re also a nation of laws, that’s our tradition.”

He emphasized addressing the laws that require deportation and called on Congress to pass “common sense” immigration reform, saying that it was an issue that needed to be solved now and not to be left for the next generation.

Hong, an undocumented immigrant himself, is a University of California, Berkeley graduate and a research assistant at Harvard University. He is also a member of Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education (ASPIRE), and several members were also present during Obama’s speech.

He told NBC Bay Area that while he has supported Obama, he has been disappointed about his efforts on immigration reform.

 

 

This story was originally published at iamkoream.com.

Judy Chu Responds To President Obama’s Address to Congress

Audrey Magazine‘s Fall Issue feature story, “Picking Up the Pieces,” looks at how the economic recession has affected the lives of Asian Americans. And in light of President Obama’s recent jobs speech to a joint session of Congress, U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), released the following statement in response.

In spite of the dangerous myth that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have been largely untouched by this recession, our community has been devastated by long term unemployment, high rates of foreclosures and downward mobility. Many who have spent decades working to attain the American dream are now falling out of the middle-class or struggling to make ends meet.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Asian American and Pacific Islander community experienced the fastest percentage growth of any racial group over the last 10 years. Since the recession began, AAPIs have experienced a 54 percent drop in median household income and the largest decline in home ownership of any racial group. As a whole, AAPIs also remain unemployed for longer periods of time than any other group. Certain AAPI communities, such as American Samoans, also have unemployment rates that are nearly twice the national average.

The President’s plan is a step forward for our community and our country. By extending unemployment benefits and investing in job creation, we can help AAPI workers suffering from disproportionately long periods of unemployment. The President’s proposal for tax relief on small businesses will also benefit the 1.5 million AAPI owned businesses that employ over 2.8 million people. As elected leaders in Congress, we need to come together and pass a meaningful jobs package that puts Americans back to work and invests in our current and future needs.

To check out our Fall issue, purchase here.