Second Chances: A story of a dreamer

MInchul Suk Dreamer copyMin-Chul Suk came to the U.S. from South Korea with his parents in 1991, when he was 9. Min-Chul graduated from high school with a 4.2 GPA. He graduated from UCLA with a degree in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics. With the support of the Korean-American community, Min-Chul was able to graduate from dental school. He has passed the national boards and licensure exam but cannot obtain a license and fulfill his dream of becoming a dentist because he is undocumented.

He says that he is “willing to accept whatever punishment is deemed fitting for that crime” of being brought here as a child without papers. The one request he makes is for a second chance without having to go back to his country of origin that he barely remembers.

“I am begging for a chance to prove to everyone that I am not a waste of a human being, that I am not a criminal set on leeching off taxpayers’ money. Please give me the chance to serve my community as a dentist, to be a giver rather than a receiver, to be able to become someone who would be able to shine light and help those around me like people have done for me when I was down in my darkest hours,” said Min-Chul.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was expanded to allow people like Min-Chul the opportunity to work and stay legally in the country they know and love, for an additional 3 years without fear of deportation. On November 21, 2014, an Executive Action plan was announced by President Obama, but due to one judge’s ruling in Texas ,the action is currently on hold. The hope is that this ruling will be overturned upon appeal, and many more young people like Min-Chul will be able to receive the paperwork signifying that they are, indeed, a recognized member of this society.

Once that appeal happens, there will be millions more like Min-Chul who will seek help. Through NIJFON, The United Methodist Church has been able to be with those like Min-Chul through this process. Though we cannot help everyone that will qualify, with your help we can expand our capacity to accompany and advocate for these young people, who are America’s present and future leaders.  DACA brings protection from the fear of deportation, and allows these young adults to fulfill their dreams of studying, of working, of living a full life in this country that is their home. DACA is not a path to citizenship, and since future Presidents could offer an alternate that does not allow for the American Dream to be fulfilled through our young Dreamer neighbors, we must continue to fight for Comprehensive Immigration reform.

Bishop's AppealWe have a provided a fact sheet here for you to print and share information about DACA and DAPA, and invite contributions to this year’s Bishop’s Appeal.

One of our three current immigration legal clinics is in Rockford, on the 4th Sunday of every month.   At our Rockford Clinic we are able to welcome clients from many diverse countries, who currently reside in both the Rockford and DeKalb Districts (and sometimes beyond). When the doors are opened on that 4th Sunday at Court Street UMC, it is a chance for fear to be transformed into hope, for disconnection to become community, as our team of volunteers accompanies our clients, and provides radical hospitality in every way that we can.

One of the great joys of the JFON model of ministry is that volunteers come from a variety of churches and faith communities, mainly from surrounding United Methodist congregations, but also from the Roman Catholic, the Unitarian Universalist, as well as from the are Pentecostal/Evangelical congregations.   We are, and will continue to be, rooted in the United Methodist Church, but we are confident that we must work with all partners for the transformation of God’s world. At all levels of the work of JFON we know that we are better together in this ministry of justice, and can never be “lone rangers”.

Your church’s contribution to the Bishop’s Appeal will allow NIJFON to continue to work with local congregations and many other partners to offer information sessions and legal services for those eligible for executive action. Please bring your special offerings to the 2015 Annual Conference.

We thank you in advance for your faithful generosity.



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