The first “dreamer” of the USA Lee is from Korea, and his story deeply moved 17 years ago the Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, determined now more than ever to find a solution for the thousands of undocumented youth who remain in the shadows.
Born in Brazil, undocumented and of Korean parents, Tereza Lee was a child prodigy: she had learned to play the piano alone, with hours of practice and had even played as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of the most important symphonic ensembles in the world. world.
Admitted already in some of the most prestigious music schools in the country, but had a problem: her parents had brought her to the United States. irregularly with only 2 years, was undocumented and feared to be discovered by immigration authorities.
Then, Durbin received the call of Ann Monaco, a professor of an important musical school of Chicago, the greater city of the state of Illinois, that the democrat represents in the Senate.
Thanks to Durbin’s support, Lee fulfilled his dream and studied at the Manhattan School of Music and, in 2009, debuted at the Carnegie Hall concert hall in New York.
The legislator presented in 2001 before the Congress the “Dream Act” (Dream Law), the first initiative that proposed to open the door of the country to the “dreamers” and grant them the citizenship of the United States, although it never prospered.
“Dreamers” has since become the term by which undocumented youth who came to the country as children are known, some of whom took part in Deferred Action (DACA), a program approved in 2012 that protected the group from deportation. .
In September, President Donald Trump canceled the status that protected 690,000 people; Now, the solution for the “dreamers” is still pending in the Congress, which should debate a solution for this group this week that begins.
Lee’s “dream” symbolizes a reality that legislators and lobbyists often forget: not all “dreamers” have Latin American origins and, in fact, some 130,000 were born in different Asian countries, according to Nakasec estimates, a group that defends Asian immigrants.
The Migration Policy Institute, a center of thought in Washington, estimates that 1.3 million undocumented youth could have benefited from DACA.
Specifically, 48,000 were born in South Korea, 25,000 in China, 18,000 in the Philippines, 16,000 came from India and 9,000 from Vietnam, among other countries.
Jie Zong, political analyst of the Immigration Policy Institute, assured Efe that the majority of Asians who decide to emigrate to the United States do so to improve economically, but others like China’s nationals also seek political asylum.
According to Zong, the majority chooses to travel by air with temporary permission that they end up infringing when they stay in the US. more time than allowed, while others travel by boat with contraband groups and some arrive in Mexico to cross through the common border with the United States.
The expert pointed out that Asian “dreamers” are, in general, less organized and noisy when it comes to defending aspects related to “the dream” -the permanence in the USA- “.
Park is the surname that unites Maro and Christine, two South Koreans separated by the more than 4,000 kilometers between Virginia and California.
Maro Park had “no opportunity” to work legally when he left the institute and had to resort to work paid in black until in 2012 the regulation of “dreamers” was approved.
“Before graduating my life was quite sad knowing that I would not be able to go to the Faculty in conditions, a tremendous moral blow”, told Efe the young man, who previously had to emigrate to Japan fleeing the financial crisis in South Korea .
Now, he has lost his DACA after the cancellation of the Government and, with it, the status that allowed him to look for a formal job and to be able to drive, something “essential” for his working life.
“I do not know what my life would be like without DACA, I think it would be destroyed, everything I built with my friends and my family would leave, maybe I would have to go back to Korea, a country I do not know anything about (…). despairing, “Christine Park, who was also pushed to the US, told Efe. because of the economic difficulties.
According to the Pew Research Center, Asian immigration was the fastest growing among large groups in the United States between 2000 and 2015, from 11.9 million to 20.4, 72% more.