Jin Park, who was brought to the US from South Korea aged just seven, is a recipient of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislation, which gave child immigrants such as Park a legal route to work permits. Despite the often-used moniker ‘Dreamers’, the proposed DREAM Act, which would have granted citizenship, was not passed.
“I think of Queens, New York. Whatever happens”
Park, who graduated from Harvard with a degree in biology, won the prestigious scholarship at his second attempt after the organisation dropped its ban on Dreamer participation. The New Yorker told the Associated Press he intends to enrol on a political theory course, with an interest in migration studies, in September 2019.
However, the Trump administration has launched several assaults on the DACA legislation, and although the cases are working through the US legal system, a reported 700,000 recipients are unsure of their future 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 said. “I haven’t really thought about what that’s going to mean if I’m not allowed back,” he added.
But Park is steadfast. He told Voice of America his home will remain New York City, even if his return proves a challenge.
“For me, I think of Queens, New York. Whatever happens, I’m always going to know that fact. Even if I have to spend the rest of my life convincing the administration, or whoever comes next,” he concluded.