Undocumented Student Action Weeks’ ‘Welcome Back Party’

Ju+Jong+and+Lynn+Wang+speaking

Gabriel Villegas

Guest speaker Ju Hong speaking onstage with Faculty Counselor Lynn Wang during Student Action Week (Oct 17, 2022).

Gabriel Villegas, Staff Writer

Cerritos College’s 6th Annual Student Action Week began its first day with a presentation hosted by the UndocuLEADERS and UndocuFalcons Scholars Program.

Faculty Counselor Lynn Wang spoke onstage with Ju Hong about his fight for immigration integration working for programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Unaccompanied Undocumented Minors (UUM).

Hong is famously known for speaking out and interrupting former president Barack Obama during a White House rally in 2013, pleading “I need your help… Please use your executive order. You have the power to stop deportation.”

The event began with a screening that chronicled Ju’s struggle with immigration laws and the difficulty he had as an undocumented citizen in his constant attempts to visit his senile grandmother in South Korea.

After the film, Ju Hong sat down and answered questions asked by Counselor Wang and anonymous questions sent in by students.

Program Facilitator Maria Barragan said the goal was to “bring awareness to advance parole and remove ourselves from the LatinX focus when it comes to the undocumented community.”

Barragan added, “We want students to organize and be active in our community.”

UnDocu Infographic
This infographic shows the five different ways to support UnDocumented students. (Gabriel Villegas)

According to President’s Alliance, there are more than 427,000 undocumented students attending higher education with about 181,000 being eligible for DACA.

The DACA program works to ensure undocumented children aren’t prosecuted by the Department of Homeland Security be it they meet specific guidelines and renew their consideration of deferred action every two years.

DACA also not only provides eligibility for employment authorization provided individuals can provide economic necessity for employment, but can potentially save undocumented citizens with final removal orders.

Ju Hong’s ultimate goal is to rally students together, “I want to bring all the communities together and push for collective liberation.”

While working for a program that works against the Department of Homeland Security may seem intimidating, Ju Hong says, “There are so many things we can do here at this college.”

“Think globally, but act locally,” he says, “Start from this campus and you can make a significant difference.”

Through the UndocuFalcon Scholars Program, Cerritos College offers free resources including scholarships, book vouchers, immigration legal consultation, wifi and laptop loaners and food/housing support for undocumented students.

One anonymous student said, “I have this access but my guilt prevents me from using it unless I absolutely need to.”

Ju Hong replied, “By taking action there’s a lot of risk, the more risk, the more support I receive and opportunities and open doors.”

Another anonymous question asked was “How can we overcome fear advocating for undocumented communities as undocumented individuals?”

“When we say activism, it can show up in so many different ways,” said Ju Hong.

Outside of the campus, Ju Hong says “As an artist you can donate your work, by entering into law school, you can help other undocumented individuals filing for DACA […] There are so many ways we can do our own role.”

More information on the DACA program can be found at this website.