The young man who heckled President Obama at a San Francisco speech on immigration reform Monday has been identified as an “undocumented” South Korean immigrant
Ju Hong, 24, had interrupted the president, telling him he has “the power to stop deportations for all.”
Hong is a student activist at the University of California Berkeley who came to the United States on a tourist visa at age 11 with his mother and sister. The visa expired not long after he arrived, but the family stayed, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
“Looking at my mother, sacrificing her time and energy just to support my education, it was heartbreaking for me,” Hong told the Mercury News three years ago when explaining his tendency to heckle officials at public events. “I became a little bit angry. I couldn’t wait for politicians to just talk.”
Hong’s history of protesting high-profile events includes arrests for interrupting former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano when she became the new UC Berkeley president and for blocking a San Bernadino street during an immigration rally.
“Mr. Obama, my family has been separated for 19 months now!” Hong said when interrupting Obama’s speech Monday. “You have a power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants in this country.”
But Obama may not have that power. PolitiFact rates the claim as false, saying:
Experts say any executive action that sweeping would violate the separation of powers between Congress and the executive branch. Obama has taken some executive action to temporarily keep more undocumented immigrants in the United States, and likely could do more, but not to the permanent point that the heckler argues. We rate this claim Mostly False.
A UC Berkeley YouTube video shows Hong explaining his status and describes his presence at the university this way:
UC Berkeley senior, Ju Hong, describes his life as an “undocumented” student.
The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund awarded $1 million to the University of California, Berkeley, for scholarships for undocumented students. This is the single largest gift for scholarships of this type at a U.S. university.
Watch the video here:
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