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Published: Saturday, 4/16/2005

Woman's future in U.S. tied up in 2 courts

BY ROBIN ERB
BLADE STAFF WRITER

She is the mother of a teenage boy, a longtime school volunteer known for home-cooked goodies, and a regular at Emmanuel Baptist Church services and Bible study.

But these days, Young Jung has been reduced to digits and letters in a world of immigration law. There's the nine letters and numbers denoting her case in U.S. District Court, the eight digits identifying her as an illegal alien, and nine digits listing her among inmates at the Andrew C. Baird Detention Facility.

"I worry about her. She is with hardened criminals," said her husband, Dae Jung, a sushi chef.

Two months after Homeland Security officers arrested Mrs. Jung, 46, at the family's West Toledo apartment, the family's fate - the couple allegedly are illegal aliens; their 14-year-old son is a U.S. citizen - is gummed up in two courthouses.

In one case, attorneys yesterday filed documents with the Board of Immigration Appeals in Falls Church, Va. They argued that Immigration Court Judge Elizabeth Hacker in Detroit

abused her discretion earlier this year by lifting a temporary stay she had placed on the Jungs' 1996 deportation orders.

The Jungs have been in Toledo since 1984 after Mr. Jung came to study at the University of Toledo. But after returning to homeland South Korea in 1995, the Jungs' status as legal aliens changed when they returned to Toledo. Mr. Jung failed to follow through on plans to attend a language school as he said he would, according to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

In 1996, INS ordered the pair deported. Yet in 2000 it allowed Toledo's Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant to hire Mr. Jung, who now represents the restaurant at the downtown Navy Bistro. Mrs. Jung was arrested in February and Mr. Jung was placed in supervised custody, meaning he could stay home with the couple's 14-year-old son, Andrew, as long as he followed certain conditions, like reporting weekly to an INS office.

In a second case, attorneys asked U.S. District Court Judge Peter C. Economus in Youngstown to immediately release Mrs. Jung or set a reasonable bond, saying she is being illegally detained.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur recently sent letters to INS's district office in Detroit requesting Mrs. Jung be returned to an INS facility near home. She was transferred from one Michigan lockup to another over several weeks, moving from Detroit to Battle Creek to Sault Ste. Marie, frustrating friends and her attorneys who wanted to visit.

"It's not really so much a test of faith, but a test of patience," Pastor Ron Mundy of Emmanuel Baptist said.

Contact Robin Erb at:

robinerb@theblade.com

or 419-724-6133.



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