David Cho in the Wall Street Journal For the DREAM Act
You might remember David Cho from when he wrote a DREAM Now Letter for Citizen Orange.
Alas, now he's moved onto bigger and better things. Yesterday, he was featured in the Wall Street Journal. He's got the lede and the last line in the article:
LOS ANGELES--David Cho, an honor student and leader of the UCLA marching band, plans to join the U.S. Air Force after he graduates in the spring--if Congress lets him.
Mr. Cho is among the potential beneficiaries of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors bill--informally known as the Dream Act--that would give some illegal immigrants a shot at becoming U.S. citizens.
Currently, students like Mr. Cho come of age in the U.S. without the right to legally work, join the military or receive federal loans for education. Most of these children had no say in their families' decision to settle illegally in the U.S. Generally, they have not been targeted for deportation, unless they have criminal records.
"I'm super stoked that it came up," said Mr. Cho, 21 years old, a senior at the University of California, Los Angeles, who came to the U.S. from South Korea when he was nine years old and has never been back.
Without the Dream Act, Mr. Cho will have no legal job prospects when he graduates, he said.
But during a recent band rehearsal ahead of a football game at the Rose Bowl, Mr. Cho was optimistic about his opportunities in the long term. "My dream is to become a U.S. senator."Miriam Jordan - Wall Street Journal (18 September 2010)
I don't know what it is about that last line that makes me smile. I think it's safe to say that the United States in the only country in the world where an unauthorized migrant can aspire to be a U.S. senator like this. I don't think I'll ever fully understand why talented undocumented youth want so deeply in their hearts to contribute to a country that refuses to even recognize them as human beings. I've written about my conflicting feelings on this before.
There is a beauty in it though. The American mirage that is the American dream is becoming an American reality simply because DREAMers like David Cho believe with all of their hearts that passing the DREAM Act is not only a possibility but an inevitability. As a result, DREAMers in the U.S. are the vanguard not only of the national migrant rights movement, but of a global migrant rights movement.
The Wall Street Journal also has a great picture of David Cho leading the UCLA Marching Band. As David Cho said in his DREAM Now Letter:
I am the first Korean and actually the first undocumented student to ever become the conductor, the drum major of the UCLA Marching Band in UCLA history.I hope he doesn't mind me saying this, but I tried desperately to convince David to come to Washington over the phone, because I think he's easily one of the best spokespeople in the nation for the DREAM Act at this point in time. Even bringing David Cho her for one day, I think, would do a world of good.David Cho - Citizen Orange (9 August 2010)
David Cho, however, made a commitment to the UCLA Marching Band, and he's in charge of rehearsals all this week. Without him, the band can't go on, and that's why he's elected to stay on the West Coast, despite the fact that I know he very desperately wants to be here. The DREAM is his future for God's sake. I think David's willingness to stick to commitments like this when other people are already counting on him says more about his character than words ever could. I know I certainly could learn that from him.
As a side note, I think Miriam Jordan did an excellent job with her article, or at least as best as could be expected from the mainstream media.
Unfortunately, she quoted a bunch of nativist old crotchety white men politicians as well as a hate group. As I described in an earlier post, nativists like these are irrelevant to the passage of the DREAM Act. Still, I've come to accept that journalists have constructed this false notion that they have to cover at least two sides of an issue, regardless of how irrelevance of one of those sides, in order to achieve some misconstrued and unobtainable goal of objectivity.
Keeping that in mind, Miriam Jordan does one of the best jobs of presenting all of the factual counter-arguments to the bogus nativist soundbites thrown out there. Sen. Jeff Sessions (D-AL), Rep. Steve King (D-IA), and Dan Stein all look pretty stupid next to David Cho, Margaret Stock, a retired West Point professor, Louis Caldera, a former secretary of the Army, and Mark Yudof, president of the UC System. One quick look at all of those names makes pretty clear which "side" is the most relevant.