Feinstein asks officials to halt student's deportation

November 15, 2010 8:22:13 PM PST
United States Sen. Diane Feinstein has asked immigration officials to halt the deportation of a City College of San Francisco nursing student, but the student's lawyers have not officially heard from Feinstein's office about her intervention.

"We have not gotten official word from Feinstein," said Lisa Chen, a community advocate for Asian Law Caucus, the group defending the student.

"We've only seen it in press that she wants to intervene," she said. "We want official confirmation before we go down this emotional roller coaster that it has been for family and friends close to Steve."

Shing Ma "Steve" Li, a community college nursing student, was arrested at his San Francisco home on Sept. 15 for illegally living in the country.

Li was going to be deported to Peru on Monday, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has delayed the action for "a few days," Chen said.

"They were very vague," she said.

According to today's statement from Feinstein, "I have asked ICE to halt the deportation proceedings while I consider introducing a private bill that will allow Mr. Li to remain in the United States on a temporary basis."

Li was born in Peru after his parents fled their native China to avoid political persecution.

Five years ago, Li's family was denied political asylum from China and issued a removal order, according to the statement from Sin Yen Ling, Li's lawyer.

Although Li would have been eligible to remain in the U.S. under the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, Congress didn't vote on the legislation.

The DREAM Act, which could be included as an amendment to other legislation in 2011, would permit certain undocumented students who arrived in the U.S. as minors and have completed at least two years of study at a four-year institution or at least two years of military service to remain in the country.

"(Li) was pursuing his education and planning a career in the medical profession until his arrest and detention. This case is a prime example of why Congress must pass the DREAM Act," Feinstein said in a statement.

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