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One woman spared deportation, but millions live on the edge

Published on Wed, Dec 22, 2010

Private bills are not routinely introduced for undocumented individuals, according to Wendy Sefsaf, spokeswoman for the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center. During the 111th session of Congress, 104 bills were introduced for those who may suffer hardships if they were returned to native countries or became undocumented due to administrative delays.

That's low, Sefsaf said, compared to deportations: A record-breaking 392,000 illegal aliens were removed in 2010, a 70 percent increase from the previous administration, officials from the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced in October.

Exactly how many private bills pass is unclear. Last week, for the first time in five years, Congress approved private bills for two Japanese citizens fighting to live in the United States — Shigeru Yamada, son of a woman who was killed in a car crash when he was a teenager and was never adopted, andHotaru "Hota" Ferschke, who found out she was pregnant and got married over the phone with a Marine who was killed in Iraq.

But Sefsaf said those cases are exceptions.

"Congress just needs to focus on a broader plan that would provide relief for the millions in this country that deserve to stay and figure out a way to weed out the ones that might not."

Published in the Detroit News | Read Article