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Harvard University Graduate and Rhodes scholar May Not Be Able To Return To US

by Kristen Timbrook - The Oregon Herald Friday January 4, 2019    5:45 PM

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts — Harvard University graduate Jin Park was the first student to win the prestigious Rhodes scholarship but the 22-year-old New Yorker may not be able to return to the US if he enrolls at the University of Oxford in England in the fall.

Jin Park, who lives in New York City, fears he would not be allowed back in the country if he enrolls at the University of Oxford this fall due to President Trump's decision to rescind overseas travel for those with DACA status.

"If I leave, there's a very real possibility that I won't be able to come back. That's the biggest fear for sure," Park told the AP. "I haven't really thought about what that's going to mean if I'm not allowed back."

Park immigrated to the U.S. with his family from South Korea when he was 7 years old.

He, along with hundreds of thousands of other "Dreamers," are not subject to deportation because he entered the U.S. undocumented at a young age with his family.

To qualify for DACA, immigrants must have entered the country by 2007 and been under the age of 16 at the time of entry.

Trump's decision to roll back the program has been challenged in multiple courts, but could be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Park said he is aware of the risks associated with leaving the country to further his education but is "avoiding that question" of what will happen should he attempt to return. Park graduated from Harvard in December.

"I'm looking forward to having that unstructured time to think about these broader questions of who belongs in America and the value judgments we make about others," he said.

Park founded the nonprofit Higher Dreams in 2015 to help other Dreamers and students with permanent immigration status apply for college and seek out student loans.


Photo: Harvard University graduate Jin K. Park, who holds a degree in molecular and cellular biology, poses at a gate at Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Mass., Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. Park, who was named a Rhodes Scholar along with 31 other Americans in November, entered the U.S. illegally as a child, moving to Queens borough of New York City with his family.
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