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Bay Area Asians Come Out as DREAM Students

An immigration rally in San Francisco last March
//yeti-cir-test.s3.amazonaws.com/uploaded/images/2010/7/immigration-rally-sf/original/SF immigration rally.jpg
An immigration rally in San Francisco last March

An immigration rally in San Francisco last March
Getty Images
An immigration rally in San Francisco last March
Getty Images

The DREAM Act may be seen as a piece of legislation that would largely benefit Latino students, but San Francisco student Steve Li's case has proven that Asians are also deeply concerned about the bill. As Congress moves toward a vote on the bill, more and more Chinese undocumented students are willing to speak up for themselves, reports the Sing Tao newspaper.

One of them is 18-year-old Elizabeth Lee, a Lowell High School graduate whose family is facing deportation in January. Last Saturday, she and her family joined Steve Li and advocacy groups at San Francisco's Mission Dolores to pray for the passage of the DREAM Act. Li, a nursing student in San Francisco, had been held in an Arizona detention center until recently.

Like Li, Lee and her brother were born in Peru to Chinese parents, but came to the United States about nine years ago, fleeing anti-Asian sentiment.

Undocumented Korean students are also coming out, reports the Korea Times. Joo-young Hong is an undocumented student living in Oakland. He says failure to pass the DREAM Act would "rob him of his own dream of pursuing higher education."

An editorial in the Korea Daily compared the struggle for the DREAM Act to the civil rights struggle: Like Rosa Parks, editors argue, immigrants must demand their rightful place in society.

Wan Shin Kim, an editor with the Korea Daily, also noted that undocumented children are particularly vulnerable to anti-immigrant legislation. "Many of these children arrived here completely unaware of their status, and should therefore be allowed to continue with their education,”wrote Kim.

According to a recent report in the Korea Times, there are an estimated 200,000 undocumented Koreans living in the United States.

Chinese media estimate that there are approximately 350,000 undocumented Chinese in the country.

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