Legal Immigrant Family Fights Deportation of Son With Down Syndrome

Hee Chun Kang’s parents are legal permanent residents of the United States, but he faces deportation to Korea because he is past the age of 21. Kang has Down syndrome and needs the support of family looking after him. Our taxpayer dollars are certainly being put to good use.

Hee Chun and Hyo Chun were 10 and 7 years of age, respectively, when their parents brought them to the United States in 1993. They overstayed their tourist visas, but due to a family petition filed on their behalf, the parents became legal residents last year. However, Hee Chun and Hyo Chun were both over 21 by the time a visa was available, so they aged-out and now await deportation from the United States, away from their parents.

Congress passed a law called the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) to prevent the tragic breakup of families in the legal immigration system. Using a complex mathematical calculation, certain adult children of legal permanent residents are allowed to stay in the United States even after reaching the age of 21. Congress also provisioned that those adult children who do not qualify under those calculations can nonetheless retain their place in line with the use of the original date of filing and conversion to the proper category (2B-unmarried adult children of legal permanent residents). U.S. Citzenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is now the subject of a nationwide class action lawsuit currently before the Ninth Circuit due to failed to properly apply this provision.

Deporting Hee Chun Kang from the United makes no sense for several reasons. First, he has Down syndrome and no family relatives in Korea that could take care of him. Second, it is cruel and inhumane to his parents, who have been long-time residents and now legal permanent residents, to have their child deported. In most families, children are not told to provide for themselves just because they reach a certain age, so this system of kicking them off family petitions is altogether bizarre. Third, the Ninth Circuit may deem that the USCIS is wrongly interpreting the law in a manner that is dividing up families, so there would be no legal reason to deport Hee Chun or his brother.

Fourth, it is pointless and detrimental to deport Hee Chun or his brother now since that would mean a ten-year ban from the United States, while their parents would likely become U.S. citizens within four years who can sponsor their adult children right away.

Finally, it is important to remember that Hee Chun and Hyo Chun were brought here by their parents and are supposed to be legal permanent residents under the family petition filed by their aunt more than 12 years ago. They have committed no crimes. Asking them to wait their turn in line all over again just because they turned 21 is a double jeopardy that is unfair and unjust.

We should not direct our anger over “illegal immigration” towards children who had no say in coming to this country and a family that had no idea that their children would be caught in this bureaucratic nightmare over an arbitrary age rule. Yet thousands of legal immigrant families are caught in the same situation, fighting to either keep their adult children here or bring them to the U.S. Thousands of taxpayer dollars are going towards removal and litigation proceedings to kick these young immigrants out of our country. It’s wasteful spending because by the time the litigation is over, the aged-out children are eligible for a green card through their parents. Tell DHS to stop the deportation of the Kang brothers and grant deferred action to age-out children of legal permanent residents. It’s not only fair — it makes economic and policy sense.

Photo Credit: Subterranean Tourist Board

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