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Rep. Gerry Connolly Joins NAKASEC And Virginia Immigrants For “DAPA Dinner”

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Last Friday, Rep. Gerry Connolly sat down with Virginia immigrants as part of the ongoing “DAPA Dinners” campaign, which joins elected officials with families to discuss how deferred action impacts immigrants and their communities.

Rep. Connolly DAPA Dinner

The dinner — hosted by the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) — was the first since the Supreme Court’s disappointing deadlock in United States vs. Texas last week.

In Virginia, some 91,000 immigrants would be eligible for work permits, driver’s licenses and protection from deportation under the President’s immigration actions, which remain blocked due to the Court’s tie decision.

“I want DAPA to do for my family what DACA has done for me,” Bati Tsogtsaikhan, a DACA recipient with DAPA-eligible parents, told Rep. Connolly. “I want my parents to have an opportunity to find fair paying jobs to better support my younger brother and not live in fear of being separated from my brother and me.

“I am extremely disappointed by Thursday’s decision. But I remind the community to not give up and keep fighting.”

Max Kim also remains undeterred. In fact, he has just applied for DACA after seeing his peers thrive under the program.

“This June I graduated from Annandale High School and am ready to pursue my dreams of becoming an entrepreneur in graphic design and opening my own restaurant,” said Max.

“I decided to apply for DACA after hearing about the success stories of DACA recipients during the Dream Riders Across America tour and being involved in local Virginia campaigns.”

“I urge all eligible members in my community to apply for DACA because this is how we demonstrate to the courts and America that these deferred action programs and our families matter,” he said.

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Rep. Connolly said, “Each new wave of immigrants refreshes the American spirit, making communities like ours in Northern Virginia stronger and more vibrant.”

“Rather than putting up walls and erecting barriers, Congress should pass comprehensive immigration reform. However, in the absence of action, DACA and DAPA offer DREAMers hope for a brighter future.”

This was the latest in a series of meetings between politicians and DAPA-eligible families. To learn more about the DAPA Dinners campaign and other candidates who have participated click here.

All photos from NAKSEC’s Facebook page here.