Youth in Action in DC (11/14/2013)

Tredayne Cabanlit’s story (Youth from Chicago KRCC, age 18, Legal 
Permanent Resident) 
I lived in Chicago for 7 years, and I am a youth member at the Korean American
Resource and Cultural Center and a Housing Leader at the Albany Park Neighborhood
Council. I was born in the Philippines and came to the US when I was 11 years old. My
parents left for the US when I was 6 years old because it was hard for them to find a job
in the Philippines. My parents were undocumented, but my mother was able to adjust
her status through an employment visa as a nurse. Now, me and my family together and
are about to become US citizens.
Going through this experience really made me realize the importance of family and what
parents do just to give their kids a good life. That’s why I’m really passionate about
fighting to stop deportations because I want to help keep families together.
I am coming to DC to join the youth in action to send a strong message to my Illinois
representatives and House Leadership that the time is now for immigration reform to
keep families together. As I join 150 immigrant youth that are impacted by immigration
policy, I ask that our lawmakers act on immigration reform now.
Jonathan and Leo Vazquez’s story (Youth from Chicago, age 15 and 14, 
both are US citizen, their mother is undocumented) 
Our names are Jonathan and Leo Vazquez, we are 15 and 14 years old and we are
brothers. We live in Chicago, Illinois with our family, and my brother and I are US
citizens. However, my mother is not a US citizen. She is undocumented. We have one
older sister named Kassandra, and another younger brother Alex, and two baby sisters
Perla and Ximena, ages 18, 15, 14, 10, 3, and 2. We are all US citizens, but our mom is
not.
We are going to DC, for my mother. Our mother has always been there for us and is the
most important person in our lives. When we were coming to DC, we wanted to get
state-issued identification cards, but had issues because our mom could not provide the
needed documents. It took us too long to get a basic service, because our immigration
system is broken. It is unfair to my brother and I, and even more unfair to our mother.
We want immigration reform to happen so that my brother Leo, Kassandra, Alex, Perla,
and Ximena, and I will no longer have to worry about our mother. She means the world
to us and our family would not be the same if all six of us were separated from her.
When I was 2 years old, my mom took me and my brother Leo, to Mexico to see our
family and stayed there for 5 years. When we were coming back, our mother could not come back to the US with us because of our broken immigration system for 2 years.
During that time, we lived with our aunts in Chicago. It was very difficult for the two
years, without her love, care, and her presence. We don’t want any other kid to feel what
we felt. It is unfair and very sad. Thats the biggest reason we’re here because we do no
want to be separated from our mother ever again.
Woo Suk (Justin) Kim’s story (Youth from LA KRC, age 17, US citizen 
and upcoming voter) 
I live in LA and live with a family of 7. My mother, Jongran, works in the Korean
Resource Center as a Community Health Education Organizer. I am the oldest of five
children and have one sister and three brothers. I started volunteering at KRC as early as
the fourth grade to increase my awareness of the pressing issues in the Korean
American community. Since then I have participated continually throughout events such
as the March for America as well as actions in LA and Las Vegas and Arizona. I am an
adamant and passionate member of the immigrant rights campaign. I want to continue
advocating for immigrant rights especially since meeting many undocumented youth and
hearing their stories of the struggles of being undocumented, family separation, fear of
deportation, and the difficulty living without worker protections. My parents have
instilled the strong immigrant family values that families and community members
deserve immigrant rights.
I strongly believe in the American values that if you work hard, you should succeed and
that it is the immigrant’s right be able to participate in the American Dream rather than
being a second class resident.
I hear stories from my mother of the constant struggles our undocumented families face.
As a US Citizen, I think it is unfair and wrong that members in my community be
treated differently. My friends tell me stories of waiting to be reunited with their family
members. Being the oldest, I take care of my younger brothers and sister. If immigration
reform does not happen, then it means that other youth, students just like me, cannot
take care of their brothers and sisters the same way that I can, because they might be
deported and separated from their loved ones. It is frightening to think that there are still
many out there who were not born with the same opportunities and rights to basic
institutions such as the family as I do. It is time for that to change.
I am positive that throughout all of the talk of immigration reform, that our community
will overcome the struggles we face everyday.
Dear respective Senators and Representatives, the time is now for all aspiring citizens to
be given a chance to participate in the American Dream. I would tell my President, now,now is the time to cease unnecessary deportations, that now is the time to keep families
together.

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