A recent Harvard University graduate who lives in New York City and is the first so-called Dreamer to receive a Rhodes scholarship is attending President Donald Trump's State of the Union address as a guest of a New York congresswoman.
Democratic Rep. Grace Meng says she invited Jin Park to attend Trump's address Tuesday in the hope of bringing more attention to his plight and that of thousands of other young immigrants.
“It is shameful that Jin may have to abandon this coveted opportunity for a Rhodes Scholarship, an opportunity that he worked tirelessly to achieve," Meng said in a statement. "I’m proud stand in solidarity with him and I will continue to fight against the divisive policies that have been hallmark of the President’s administration.”
According to Meng's office, the 22-year-old Queens resident fears he might not be allowed back in the country if he attends Oxford in England this fall.
Park is a native of South Korea and was brought to the United States by his parents when he was 7 years old. He has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status, which protects him from deportation.
“It is such an honor to be invited to the State of the Union by Congresswoman Meng,” Park said in a statement. “As a DACA recipient and a resident of her district in Queens, I look forward to attending the State of the Union to listen, learn, and discuss the importance of legislation to find a permanent solution for DACA recipients and all 11 million undocumented immigrants.”
The DACA program, which former President Barack Obama created by executive action in 2012, allowed qualified immigrants who were brought to the country as children to receive work permits and stay in the United States.
Federal courts blocked Trump’s effort to terminate DACA. Trump has rescinded overseas travel benefits for DACA holders as he seeks to end the Obama-era program.