Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Education > Guest Voz: Undocumented student takes control of his own destiny by making the hardest decision of his life

Guest Voz: Undocumented student takes control of his own destiny by making the hardest decision of his life

LatinaLista — In our ongoing show of support and solidarity with the thousands of undocumented youth who qualify to stay in the United States under what is known as the DREAM Act, Latina Lista continues publishing the DREAM letters by young people who face an uncertain life and future because of their illegal status.</p>

The “DREAM Now Series: Letters to Barack Obama” is a social media campaign that launched Monday, July 19, to underscore the urgent need to pass the DREAM Act.

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The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, S. 729, would help tens of thousands of young people, American in all but paperwork, to earn legal status, provided they graduate from U.S. high schools, have good moral character, and complete either two years of college or military service. With broader comprehensive immigration reform stuck in partisan gridlock, the time is now for the White House and Congress to step up and pass the DREAM Act!

Chih Tsung Kao

The following letter is from a young man who wasn’t willing to wait for Congress to act and decide his destiny. He was forced to make a decision that will forever change his life — and keep him from coming back to the only place he knows as home.


Dear President Obama,

My name is Chih Tsung Kao. I am 24 years old and am now currently living in Taipei, Taiwan awaiting military service. This is not what I had planned for my life as I entered high school, but it was drastically altered when I found out that I was undocumented at 17.

I arrived in the US on a visitor’s visa when I was about 4 years old. My mother had obtained a student visa for me shortly afterwards and moved me to Boulder, Co to live with my grandparents.

By the age of 13 my grandparents decided they wanted to retire and move to California. Being raised in Boulder, the only city I’ve ever known, I decided I wanted to stay and found a friend’s parents who would take me in.

I’ve learned a lot about what it is to be American and to grow up being American from this family. They have been more family to me than my own biological family. I had not lived with my biological parents since I was brought to the US.

When I found out about my expired student visa status in high school, I was both ashamed and embarrassed that I couldn’t call myself an American. I had felt every bit American as my peers in school, but was not allowed to call myself one due to my lack of papers.

My grandparents aren’t to blame. They are older and don’t know how the system works.



    Actually, I’m not too sure a lot of the American citizens know how the system works, how intricate, and how complicated it is to become a citizen and have the freedom that is granted them for just being who they are.



    My life had two faces then, an American kid doing what kids do, and a depressed individual, feeling alone and unwanted by the country he felt was home. I had never let any of my friends know of my situation until a month before I left for Taiwan.



    I graduated from The Colorado School of Mines with a Civil Engineering degree in the spring of ’09, and have since decided that I can no longer wait for my life to take a turn for the better by becoming a citizen.



    I wanted more than anything to be a productive member of society, paying back my debt to society as a working member of the engineering sector. I don’t know if I will ever get a chance to fulfill that now.



    Currently, I am living in Taipei, and awaiting mandatory military service for all male Taiwanese citizens. Though I know I must fulfill my duties, I feel that this is yet another year of my life delayed, both personally and professionally.



    I am currently looking for ways back into the United States, but I fear the ten-year bar for overstaying my “welcome” in the US. Due to this bar, I have also considered immigrating to Canada to start a new life in a country as close to the US as possible.



    Though it may be too late for me, there are still tens of thousands of students and young adults that can benefit greatly from the passing of the DREAM Act. They, if anything like me, simply wish to be contributing, upstanding citizens of the country they know as “home”.






    Chih Tsung Kao






    This is what you can do right now to pass the DREAM Act:

    1. Sign the DREAM Act Petition
    2. Join the DREAM Act Facebook Cause
    3. Send a fax in support of the DREAM Act
    4. Call your Senator and ask them to pass the DREAM Act now.
    5. Email kyle at citizenorange dot com to get more involved

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    • jamie ramirez
      September 10, 2010 at 10:56 pm

      I’ve spent time in Taipei and other parts of Taiwan. It’s a beautiful place and a great place to live. I can think of few other places where people from the US would feel more welcome, as we’ve been their protectors for decades, and they express it openly. English is commonly spoken, especially among the young, so our friend will have no trouble communicating. The Taiwan army is very professional and humane, so his service shouldn’t be onerous, and may even be character-building. Taiwan is full of economic opportunity, as it has a working relationship with Hong Kong, a nexus to Red China. There will no doubt be many jobs open to him in the future. Chih Tsung Kao should look upon the return to his homeland as an opportunity, not a sentence.
      As to the expiration of his residence permit, clearly his grand parents were aware that it had a limited life span. Their negligence in renewing it was probably based upon the idea that the federal government has a long history of impotence in controlling immigration. He’s just being charitable by not blaming them for is situation. As part of the Budbhist legacy, Asian children are taught to respect their elders, so it would not be likely for him be critical of them.
      His is a good example for the rest of the legal residents who are depending upon more of the same failed policing. While he makes a compelling case for charity, granting exceptions only encourages more contempt for our immigration policies.

    • Mark Brady
      September 12, 2010 at 5:33 pm

      President Barack Obama….
      He simple doesn’t care about undocumented immigrant students. I pray every day that the DREAM act would become law, but nothing happens. President Obama is a lair and a coward. He swore in an interview at UNIVISION before the presidential elections that the DREAM act would become law in his Presidency. He even mentioned that he would use, if it’s necessary, his executive Presidential political power to make the DREAM act law….. but NOTHING HAPPENS. It’s so sad how these politicians play politics with so many human lifes.
      President Barack Obama doesn’t care but himself. I honestly am sorry to say this, but I really hope President Barack Obama and all Democrats drop dead.

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