Since watching his parents board a plane for Korea more than a month ago, Andrew Jung has tried to live a normal life.
He's started the ninth grade at Emmanuel Baptist Christian School, played on the junior varsity golf team, and started as a member of the Toledo Junior Youth Orchestra as a violin player.
But after his parents were deported Aug. 11, life has been anything but normal for Andrew.
Yesterday, the 15-year-old traveled to Washington and plans to speak at a rally today in support of immigration reform. He also hopes to speak to local congressmen about his parents' situation to see if there's a way to get them back.
Dae and Young Jung were forced to leave their West Toledo home and return to South Korea in August after living here since 1984.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service declared the Jungs illegal aliens in 1995 after Mr. Jung, a University of Toledo graduate, dropped plans to continue his education at a Michigan school.
Five years later, the Department of Labor issued a work permit so he could take a job as a sushi chef at a Toledo restaurant, though the INS had issued deportation orders against the couple because they failed to show up for a 1996 deportation hearing to answer questions about their immigration status.
The couple argued they never received notice of any hearing, but a panel of three federal judges ruled the notice was issued and it was up to the Jungs to notify INS officials of any change of address.
The family's life was torn apart in February, when immigration officials went to their home and ar-rested the couple. Mr. Jung was released to care for their son, who was born in America; Mrs. Jung was held in various jails.
"I'm going to try to convince the senators and the other people that what happened to my parents was wrong," Andrew said yesterday, moments before heading to the airport.
Andrew was contacted by the Los Angeles-based National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, which learned of his situation through The Blade and other media reports. With other organizations nationwide, the consortium is showing support for comprehensive immigration reform.
At a rally at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, immigrant workers and their families, including Andrew, will speak to an anticipated audience of more than 500 people. Also slated to speak are members of Congress - both Democrat and Republican - who favor immigration reform.
"The Jungs serve as a great example of how these immigration laws aren't working," said Eun Sook Lee, executive director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium. "We've organized this event to bring in families impacted by the current immigration laws. Many of these people are like Andrew's case: They are split-up families."
The proposed Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act would set up legal channels and realistic caps for workers and family members to enter in the future, provide for tough enforcement at the border and in the workplace, and enable more immigrants to learn English and prepare for citizenship. An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants would be affected.
Leonard Jessop, a Sylvania resident who, along with his wife, were named as Andrew's legal guardians by the youth's parents, said his family is accompanying the teen to the nation's capital.
And while they are there, he plans to get Andrew his U.S. passport, something necessary when he visits his parents, likely not until next summer.
In contacts with the Jungs via e-mail, Mr. Jessop said Andrew's parents are praying for their son and hoping that he can make a difference.
"They feel like foreigners in their [native] country," he said of the Jungs' experience thus far in South Korea. "There is a national ID card that they've never owned. Access to the banks and the ability to drive is limited to them, so in their own country they're perceived as foreigners."
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