Friday, December 24, 2010

Manila 2010: Pinoy grad student in US faces deportation

Logo of ICEImage via Wikipedia
With the US Senate failing to pass a bill that would have legalized the stay of alien students there, a Filipino graduate student who finished magna cum laude from Harvard University now faces deportation. Arrested for being an illegal alien, Mark Farrales, 31, is hoping two senators and a congressman – all from California – will co-sponsor a private bill that could grant him citizenship, or at least give him more time to seek other means to stay in America. A Los Angeles Times report early this week said Farrales was arrested at his residence in Reseda in Los Angeles by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The report quoted a US-ICE statement saying the immigration courts have “consistently held that Mr. Farrales does not have any legal basis to remain in the US." “He remains in ICE custody while the agency makes preparations to carry out the removal order," the ICE article added.

Farrales is currently detained at the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster. He would have been a beneficiary of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a legislation that would have extended a path to citizenship to illegal and deportable alien students. The bill seeks to grant, among others, citizenship to foreign students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, who arrived in the US illegally as minors, and who have been in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment. Under the bill, qualified alien students may earn conditional permanent residency if they complete two years in the military or two years of a four-year program in an institution of higher learning. But the bill, introduced in 2001 and has been re-introduced in the US Senate since then, was subjected to a vote last December 18 and fell five votes short of the required 60 (55 to 41).

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