MLF Attorney Eunhae Gohng Speaks to Korean Community at DACA Meeting
The rush was in August 2012 when USCIS announced a new program to allow certain undocumented immigrants, who had arrived here as children, to get a two-year deferral of removal (deportation) and the right to work in the U.S. legally. Since then, immigrant communities - and the advocacy organizations that serve them - have been scrambling to provide clear and reliable information to those who might benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
One of these organizations is FIRN, a nonprofit based in Columbia, MD that was founded 30 years ago by the immigrant advocate and social entrepreneur, Pat Hatch. As part of its outreach to the culturally and linguistically diverse immigrant communities in the Washington DC-Baltimore region, FIRN recently sponsored a DACA information session for Korean-speaking immigrants. Murthy Law Firm attorney Eunhae Gohng, who hails from Seoul, South Korea, spoke at the information session, in Korean, explaining the DACA process and answering questions about the complexities of the program.
According to Ms. Gohng, several factors make it hard to reach undocumented Korean immigrants who might qualify for DACA. First and foremost is shame: in the Korean community, it is deeply taboo to be undocumented, much less to discuss it in public. Just showing up at an information forum can "out" you. Then, there's the language barrier, and the fear of what could happen to DACA if there is a change to a Republican administration next year. These factors make it essential to reach out to potential DACA beneficiaries in their native Korean language, Ms. Gohng said. It's one less barrier to accurate, firsthand information about the benefits and risks of DACA, and about organizations - like FIRN - that can guide them through the process.
Ms. Gohng is no stranger to this kind of volunteer work. In recent weeks, she has been sharing her legal expertise at DACA seminars, held at Korean churches in the area. In the past, she's participated in pro bono legal service events like AILA's Citizenship Day, helping immigrants with their naturalization applications.
Service to others is deeply embedded in the culture of the Murthy Law Firm. Our foundational values recognize that doing well and doing good are two sides of the same coin. It's why we are proud to support FIRN through the MurthyNAYAK Foundation, the charitable arm of the Murthy Law Firm. It's also why we are proud of Ms. Gohng's work on behalf of the KoreanAmerican community: both carry on our tradition of service.
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