Immigration officials approve first-ever ‘Dreamer’ Rhodes Scholar’s application to leave to study at Oxford

Jin Park's application to study at Oxford gets approved

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved a “Dreamer’s” application to leave to England to study at the University of Oxford, his lawyers, Boston-based WilmerHale, announced.

The details: In 2018, South Korean immigrant Jin Park became the first-ever Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient to receive the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. He will join Santiago Potes, the first Latino DACA recipient and second “Dreamer” ever to receive a Rhodes Scholarship, at Oxford next month.

  • “We are thrilled that two DACA Rhodes Scholars will be heading to Oxford next month to start their courses, finally knowing they can safely and legally return after their studies to the only homes they know,” said Elliot Gerson, the American secretary for Rhodes Trust, according to AP News.
  • Park’s plan to study migration and political theory at Oxford was put on indefinite hold when the Trump administration issued a policy that terminated advance parole for DACA recipients in 2017.
  • “Advance Parole is an application to USCIS to allow an immigrant to travel outside the United States and return lawfully,” the Immigrant Legal Resource Center explains in its guide. The USCIS only approves travel if they are for educational, employment or humanitarian purposes.
  • In December 2020, a U.S. District Court ordered the Department of Homeland Security to reinstate advance parole. However, even with the changes, Park still faced “significant processing delays, administrative roadblocks and timing uncertainties,” according to WilmerHale.

About Park: Park, who lives in Queens, New York, immigrated to the U.S. from South Korean with his family at the age of 7. He is currently a second-year student at Harvard Medical School.

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  • Park received his undergraduate degree in molecular and cellular biology from Harvard College. His thesis, titled “There Is Only a Perspectival Seeing, Only a Perspectival Knowing: Applying Nietzsche’s Lesson to Adoptive Cell Therapy,” won a 2019 Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize.
  • Park co-authored multiple studies while working in the laboratory of Tyler E. Jacks, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and founding director of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. He also worked as managing editor of the Harvard Undergraduate Research Journal and as a research assistant at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.
  • As a DACA recipient, Park “provided public testimony to the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives in support of legislation for Dreamers.” He also taught English and American civics to Chinese immigrants in Boston through the Phillips Brooks House Association’s Chinatown Citizenship Program.
  • Park has written for CNN, The New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He also appeared on MSNBC to discuss DACA legislation.

About DACA: Established by the Obama administration in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a program that protects children who unlawfully entered the U.S. from potential deportation.

  • While the program does not grant children legal status in the country, DACA recipients may still apply for driver’s license,s social security numbers and work permits.
  • As of June 2021, the USCIS recorded around 590,000 active DACA recipients.

Featured Image via CNN (left), Harvard University (right)

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