After writing a farewell letter to friends and family in case he was deported, UCLA student David Cho publically announced his status as an undocumented immigrant during his second year at college. Cho, who graduated this spring, told New America Media that he wanted to put a “human face” on the issue to help bring about change.
Cho did not know that he was undocumented until he was filling out college applications, and he kept his immigration status under wraps since then. But after joining a UCLA student group called IDEAS, he decided that “coming out” would be the best way to instigate change, and eventually revealed his immigration status at a DREAM Act rally during his sophomore year. Cho continues to be an ardent supporter of the DREAM Act, the federal bill that would provide a path to citizenship for qualifying undocumented youth.
He explained to the Korea Times that the immigration issue is too often labeled as solely a Latino/a issue. Since opening up about his undocumented status, Cho founded ASPIRE (Asian Students Promoting Immigration Rights through Education) to “strengthen the unity of undocumented Asian American students on and off campus, to raise awareness in the Asian community, and to promote immigrant rights though advocacy, training, and education.”
Cho’s efforts were recognized when he became one of the 15 winners of the Freedom from Fear Award, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides during the Civil Rights Movement, and celebrates ordinary people who demonstrate courage on behalf of immigrants and refugees.
David Cho is returning to UCLA this fall to pursue a Master’s Degree in public policy.
To learn more about the DREAM Act, go to: http://dreamact.info/.
[Photo: New American Media]