1. I came to the U.S. with my grandmother at the age of 15. Our family became separated, some sent back to South Korea and unable to return to America. I was living by myself at the age of 17. At the time, I thought a visa was just something you could always renew, like a passport.

    When it was time for college, I discovered my undocumented status, and it was devastating. Thankfully, I was able to go to college on a full private scholarship, but after graduating, my undocumented status made itself felt: I had no access to financial aid, no money to pay for graduate school, and no way to legally work. I nearly broke under the weight of my undocumented status. I lived in this invisible bubble, screaming inside: “Please, someone save me”.

    Currently, I am granted Deferred Action and have a work authorization. I am a member of RAISE and am working at MinKwon Center for Community Action as a youth program associate, all in an effort to organize young Asian Americans working for immigration reform. In the movement, I found my lost identity. The young, passionate, and brave kid is now back, as is a sense of hope: in the future, I hope to work as a research neuroscientist.

    Image credit: Jill Damatac Futter for Raise Our Story

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