Politics

Senators Latch Onto Olympic Snowboarder to Pump Immigration Agenda

Chloe Kim’s parents immigrated to U.S. from South Korea in 1982

Chloe Kim won a gold medal in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe in the Pyeongchang games. (TeamUSA.org)

Democratic senators and immigrant rights activists latched onto Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim’s Korean-American roots as they continue to push for immigration-friendly measures in Congress.

Kim, 17, whose parents moved to the United States in 1982 from South Korea, won the gold medal in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe competition in Pyeongchang.

Her father, Jong Jin Kim, won American hearts before the halfpipe finals when NBC cameras showed him hoisting what appeared to be a homemade sign reading, “Go Chloe!” (Young snowboarders from the Mountain High resort in California gave him the sign, according to NBC.)

Democratic lawmakers did not hesitate to seize the opportunity for a political boost.

“He chose a life of sacrifice, leaving his home country and family, with a faith that his children could excel in America,” Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia wrote of Kim’s father in a Facebook post. “And now, his daughter Chloe is an American icon and sports legend. That is the American Dream—and we need to make sure it remains alive and well for all the Dads, Moms, and families still to come.”

Watch: Senate Leaders Discuss Immigration Debate Progress So Far

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California managed to congratulate Kim, a Golden State native who became the youngest woman to win gold in the halfpipe, praise her family’s immigrant roots, and throw a little shade at President Donald Trump — all in one 182-character tweet.

“The Kim family’s story reminds us all that the contribution of immigrant families helps make America great,” Feinstein wrote.

Sen. Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois went so far as to mount a poster of Kim on a tripod stand for a speech on the Senate floor about immigration.

The Senate kicked off floor debate on a shell bill serving as the vehicle for a potential deal on immigration on Tuesday.

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