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.