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Immigration Law

New Legal Strategy for Star Student in Deportation Case

Posted Aug 23, 2007 12:12 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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With a lot of help from his friends and well-wishers, a star Miami student facing deportation with his family for overstaying their visitor visa has developed a new legal strategy.

Juan Gomez, 18, his 19-year-old brother and their parents may have a good chance of successfully reopening their asylum petition, the Miami Herald reports, because relatives have been killed in Colombia since it was denied. Alternatively, several of the state's representatives in Congress have been trying to help the family legislatively, and a special bill has been introduced on the brothers' behalf since the family's arrest July 25 at their Miami home. However, the special bill doesn't appear likely to pass, according to the newspaper.

The two brothers came to the U.S. with their parents as toddlers. Juan Gomez, a popular high school football player in Miami as well as a star student, is enrolled in an honors college program. However, the family members—which got a 45-day stay of deportation proceedings and was released from detention with the help of a lobbying campaign led by Gomez' high school friends—are still supposed to be deported to their native Colombia.

As detailed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post, the family's plight has also encouraged friends and well-wishers to lobby for enactment of the so-called DREAM Act. It would grant U.S. residency to noncitizen children of illegal immigrants who complete two years of college or American military service, as another post explains.

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