A team of WilmerHale lawyers achieved a victory for pro bono client Jin Park—the first-ever DACA recipient to win the Rhodes Scholarship—when US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted Mr. Park’s application for advance parole.
For more than two years, WilmerHale has served as strategic counsel to Mr. Park. Mr. Park graduated from Harvard College with a degree in cellular and molecular biology, and, after winning the Rhodes Scholarship in 2018, planned to continue his studies at the University of Oxford. His plan was put on hold when advance parole was terminated for DACA recipients under a Trump Administration policy, meaning that if Mr. Park left the country to pursue his studies, he would risk forfeiting his DACA status and could be unable to return to his life and family in the United States.
In December 2020, a federal court ruling reinstated advance parole for DACA recipients, and the Biden Administration affirmed that DACA recipients who met certain criteria were eligible for advance parole. However, due to significant processing delays, administrative roadblocks and timing uncertainties, Mr. Park’s ability to travel to Oxford this fall was still in jeopardy.
On August 18, 2021, USCIS approved Mr. Park’s application, just weeks before he was scheduled to depart for England.