My name is Min Yoon, a 6th grader from Torrance, California. Right now, immigration reform is a growing issue in America. This event in DC is a huge step to express our concern about this issue. I don’t think it really matters what age, gender, or race you are, but as long as you’re trying to seek for a better society, it shouldn’t matter. As a young student with immigrants as parents, I once tried to get people to sign a petition to let an undocumented family stay in this country. Especially for the two undocumented students, this was the only place they’ve lived their entire lives, but were about to be forced to leave, just because they were born somewhere else. It’s a bit scary if you think about it. If you don’t think so, then picture yourself living in exile, hoping that nobody recognizes you, feeling like a nobody, just because some people thought you were……. different? Even some of my own friends experience this. We need a permanent solution to help not only the DREAMers, but all the immigrants to have the opportunity to fully contribute to our country. When I think about this country, I think about all the immigrants who have to go through many hardships. I want to at least think of my own country as a country that’s been through a number of hardships, but flourished in the end by passing the immigration reform.
Hello, my name is Randy Kim, and I was the first one born in America on both sides of my family. My dad’s family was from Vietnam but are Cambodian, and my mom’s side of the family are Vietnamese. Both families had come to the United States as refugees from the Vietnam War and the Cambodian genocide in the early 80s.
My father was one of 5 siblings. My father’s mother had died when my father was less than 4 years old. As a result, my grandfather could not care for the family. My father and his oldest brother Tunh were sent to live with their uncle in Cambodia. The rest of the family stayed behind with their father. As my dad and my Uncle Tunh were in their 20s, the Cambodian Killing Field era began. Their uncle was later killed. My dad and uncle escaped into Thailand and migrated to the US.
Eventually, both of them would help sponsor my Uncle Sean. However, only my aunt who’s the oldest in the family, and my uncle “Boo” who was the youngest remained behind in Vietnam. My Uncle Sean, also a US citizen, tried to sponsor them for the last 20+ years, but after years of wasted money, endless run around, and no answer, my uncle’s wish never came true.
Last November, I found out that Boo, my youngest uncle died of cancer. Many of my family members, especially those that were born in the US after me had never seen him, and the rest of my family in Vietnam. To them, they should be family, but instead, they are strangers to one another. My aunt still remains, but is also getting older. I look at family albums, and there was not one picture where all of my father’s siblings are together. I always wondered what my family would have been like had all of the siblings reunited, how many memories could have been created? How much my life and my family’s life would be impacted by their presence? It’s the answer that my family and I will never be able to find out.
I’ve seen too many families waiting for an answer that will never arrive, and I sincerely hope that all of our families will never be forced to wait years before they can be together again. Our families deserve to have a photo of their loved ones together in their photo album, to be there in time of need, and to not be strangers to one another.
Our youngest participants have something to say too when it comes to immigration. Like Lucy, 12, from Los Angeles, California. She says:
I am going to Washington, DC in June to protest for Immigration reform because Congress is doing some things that I don’t like! It is a bad idea to take away invitations (her word for family petitions) because that’s basically cutting off your family, in a sense. Without them, it will be hard to get to see your family in another country because its hard to visit far away places. For example, my favorite cousin lives in Korea, but I’ve only seen him once in my life. But he’s still my favorite! Communicating by electronic devices just isn’t the same. Taking away invitations is wrong, because its a right that we Americans have had for a long time.
Children can definitely make a difference in the world. Even if children aren’t as old as adults, they can still trigger a movement that changes the world. It’s not only adults! It’s just that many people believe children aren’t mature and won’t care what they say. If I met a Congressman or woman I would tell them that what they are doing isn’t right. It’s not fair to countless Americans with loved ones in other countries.
Join Lucy to tell Congress to preserve the family via program and to pass immigration reform this year! http://ow.ly/lvmBC