Plea to End Deportations Heard Nationwide as Activist Interrupts Obama's Speech on Immigration
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Ryan Rodrick Beiler
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Two days after he interrupted a speech by President Obama, Ju Hong, an immigrant rights activist from South Korea, joins us to talk about how Obama’s immigration policies have impacted him. As Obama continued his campaign for comprehensive immigration reform with a speech in San Francisco, Hong interrupted him to call for an end to deportations. Obama then turned around to address him directly, and Hong continued talking. Those who placed Hong behind Obama during the speech may not have realized he is one of the most outspoken young immigrant activists in California. He has been arrested previously during immigration protests—most recently over the summer when he opposed the confirmation of former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as president of the University of California system. Hong is a member of ASPIRE—Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights Through Education. "I thought about my family, I thought about my personal struggle as undocumented, and I thought about my friends and my communities who have been deported and who are currently in detention centers," Hong says about why he spoke out. "I felt I was compelled to tell the truth to President Obama that he has the ability stop the deportations for all."
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We begin today’s show looking at President Obama’s push for Congress to pass an immigration reform bill before the end of the year. A comprehensive package has passed the Senate but remains stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. On Monday, Obama continued his campaign with a speech in San Francisco, where he was engaged by an audience member who interrupted him to call for an end to deportations. What made this interruption unusual was the young man was one of the people who was chosen to stand behind Obama, so he was almost on mic. Obama then turned around to address him directly, and the young man continued talking, pleading for president Obama to stop separating families. The person was later identified as an undocumented immigrant from South Korea named Ju Hong. In a minute, he will join us to talk about what he did. But first, this is their full exchange.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: If we get immigration reform across the finish line, and it is there just within our grasp, if we can just get folks in Washington to go ahead and do what needs to be done, we are going to grow our economy, make are going to make our country more security, we’ll strengthen our families. And most importantly, we will live a—
JU HONG: Mr. Obama, I need to know—
PRESIDENT OBAMA: —most importantly, we will live—
JU HONG: —our families are separating—Thanksgiving.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: —most importantly, we will live up—
JU HONG: —I have not seen my family [Indiscernible]
PRESIDENT OBAMA: —to our character as a nation—
JU HONG: Our families are separated. I need your help . There are thousand of undocumented immigrants are torn apart—
PRESIDENT OBAMA: That is exactly what we’re talking about here—
JU HONG: —every single day—
PRESIDENT OBAMA:That is why we are here—
JU HONG: Mr. President, please use your executive order to halt deportations for all 11.5 [million] undocumented immigrants right now.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: What we’re—
JU HONG: We agree—
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Obama! Obama! Obama!
JU HONG: ...that we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform at the same time. You have a power to stop deportation for all undocumented [Indiscernible] at this time.