Pinoy grad student in US freed, granted 1-year deportation reprieve


By Jerrie M. Abella – A Filipino graduate student in the United States, earlier arrested for being an illegal alien, was released last week and granted a one-year reprieve from deportation.

According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, Farrales was released following the intercession of Rep. Brad Sherman, who urged the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to defer action on Farrales’ case and to wait for a review by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Farrales, 31 years old, was arrested in November last year at his residence in Reseda, Los Angeles by ICE agents, who said that immigration courts had “consistently held that Mr. Farrales does not have any legal basis to remain in the US.”

He was detained at the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster, Los Angeles.

In a statement, ICE said it is granting Farrales a one-year reprieve to give him more time to work on the legalization of his status.

“Deferred action is used in cases that involve compelling and humanitarian issues to allow the individual additional time to pursue legal actions,” ICE said in the statement as quoted by the LA Times.

Farrales was a valedictorian at Los Angeles’ Belmont High School. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, with a degree in government, and earned a master’s degree at the University of California (UC) in San Diego where he is also finishing his doctorates.

He arrived in the US with his parents in 1990, when he was 10 years old. At that time, his family was seeking asylum, after his father, a prominent lawyer and crusader against government corruption, was shot outside their home in Quezon City.

However, his father’s application for legal status was repeatedly denied.

Two of the younger Farrales’ sisters have legalized their status by marrying US citizens, while another sister is also about to marry a citizen.

His father’s death in 2006, however, dashed the family’s hopes of legalizing their status.

Farrales would have been a beneficiary of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a law that — had it been passed — would have granted a path to citizenship to students who are illegal aliens, and thus deportable.

The bill seeks to grant citizenship to foreign students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, who arrived in the US 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, first introduced in 2001 and then re-introduced in the US Senate since then, was subjected to a vote last December 18 and fell five votes short of the required vote of 60 (55 to 41).

Earlier, the measure passed the House by a vote of 216 to 198.

Farrales is one of the more than 1.7 million young alien students who would have benefited from DREAM Act’s passage. – via GMANews.TV

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