Victoria is 23 and working her way through college. Over Memorial Day weekend, she and her parents piled into the car and drove from New York for a vacation in the North of New Hampshire.
Hanging out at the hotel, taking a ride on the Cog Railway, that kind of thing.
“I mean, it was just a nice getaway to go with my parents because, you know, when I’m older, I can’t really spend time with them,” Victoria says. “And I also brought my dog too, she’s getting older and she likes being outside.”
Victoria, her mom, dad and pet Shitzu made it to the White Mountains without incident. But as they were going back home, they noticed traffic slowing down on the highway near Woodstock.
“They made it so no one could actually turn around,” Victoria says.
Her parents, Mr. Park and Ms. Lee, don’t have legal immigration status after coming to the U.S. from South Korea.
(NHPR isn’t using the family’s full names because they fear it might affect their status in this country.)
When they reached the Border Patrol officer, Park and Lee declined to answer questions about their citizenship. They were asked to pull over to the side.
Victoria came to the U.S. when she was four, she says, and is currently protected from deportation because she’s a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program or DACA.
She told them that, but it didn’t seem to matter.
“They were kind of dismissing my DACA status, saying ‘Oh, that has nothing to do with your status,’” says Victoria. “…Like, ‘you’re coming with us.’”
Victoria’s parents were arrested. But Victoria was let go and made the drive back to New York with her dog, alone.