(CNN) – Ju Hong didn’t come to President Barack Obama’s event here Monday to heckle the commander-in-chief. But as Obama closed out his remarks calling for new immigration reform bills in Congress, Hong – an undocumented student from South Korea – could keep quiet no longer.
“I need your help here,” he cried out from his place on the stage behind Obama, an area where protests rarely originate. “There are thousands of families separated. Every single day.”
Hong, who graduated from the University of California-Berkeley with a degree in political science, loudly called for the President to end deportations of immigrants by executive order – a suggestion Obama rejected as impossible.
“You have the power to stop deportations for all,” Hong said.
“Actually, I don’t. And that’s why we’re here,” Obama replied.
Hong claims his response to the President Monday wasn’t planned, and that he was invited to stand behind Obama. But listening to the President slam Republicans for inaction on immigration riled him to speak out.
“This is very urgent,” he said afterwards. “This is the only venue where I could speak out, and I’m representing the voices of other undocumented students who are actually in the detention center right now who can not be here.”
Obama’s response, he said, was “very disappointing.”
“I really wanted to hear what he had to say, but the fact of the matter is I was very disappointed by what he said. He didn’t mention anything about wrongdoing against undocumented immigrants, family members.”
See video of the event below.