Local organizer Many Uch becomes naturalized US citizen after two decade journey
In between the day he first entered immigration custody and the day he walked out as a naturalized citizen, over 20 years had elapsed.
In all those years, Uch would get married, purchase a home, and start a family. He went on to create relationships with elected officials and legal resources and began the journey of organizing his community. In the late 2000’s, he helped found Khmer In Action (K.I.A.), one of the first organizations to carry Southeast Asian deportation work in the Seattle-Tacoma area.
In 2010, he was pardoned by Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire. However, because his conviction involved a firearm, the pardon didn’t provide relief from deportation.
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After sending his application, checking his application status became a wake up ritual. Then one morning, things changed, I checked my UCIS account and it didn’t say anything,” said Uch. “Three or four hours later, my lawyer emailed me and said that I had gotten approved.”
“Wow, thank you,” is the reply Uch sent to his lawyers upon learning that his application was approved.
Asked what are some of the things you’d like to do, Uch replied, “I look forward to meeting my Dad for the first time in Cambodia.”