But Jay Cho says he doesn't have second thoughts about helping his wife and children skirt the system in 1996.
"Without immigration American society cannot prosper," Jay Cho said. "And, if it's inevitable to accept some immigrants -- accept them faster."
"Immigrants come to this country looking for a better life, obviously," said Simon Cho, now 18. "They don't just go out of their way to come into a different country looking for a mediocre life -- they want to survive and strive to succeed."
Cho, a professional speed skater who developed a passion for the sport growing up in Pennsylvania, competes for Team USA. He won a bronze medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.
"Getting the chance to compete for the U.S. was very special for me," he said. "It was a chance to be an ambassador for the country and I was very proud to be a part of Team USA."
And, he says, he will never forget that his career as an American ultimately began with an illicit walk across the U.S. border in the middle of the night.
"At first I was kind of ashamed of it. It's not something I want to brag about, honestly," he said. "But just recently it's something that I've grown to be proud of and has made me a stronger person overall."