Citizenship
6:13 pm
Tue April 26, 2011

Illegal Immigrant Allowed to Stay in the U.S

A 23 year old immigrant who was facing deportation has received news that he can stay in the country.  WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports.

Mariano Cardoso has lived in the U.S since he was a baby but he's not a citizen. His parents brought him here illegally from Mexico more than twenty years ago.  Recently he reached out to U.S Senators Joseph Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal asking them for help after his appeal of a deportation order was denied in February. His story has gotten attention because Cardoso was fighting deportation as he was finishing up his studies at Capitol Community College in Hartford. He's set to graduate next month.

Senator Blumenthal agreed to help and on Tuesday, his office announced the Department of Homeland Security granted a stay of removal meaning Cardoso won't be deported for at least a year.

Cardoso says it was the Senator himself who called him with the news as he was headed to class.

"He told me we should celebrate but I told him,  'I have to do finals first, sir.' "

Cardoso's goal is to become a civil engineer but that won't be possible unless he can apply for citizenship one day. That's why he supports the federal Dream Act, proposed legislation that would allow undocumented college students to apply for legal status.

"I'm not a criminal, I'm not a threat to America. I know I can better my community, I can better where I am standing, where I call home."

Besides help from Blumenthal, Connecticut's Governor Dannel Malloy also wrote a letter on Cardoso's behalf.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not respond to a request for comment on why the temporary stay was granted.

Blumenthal's office says the federal government can choose to renew the stay of removal after one year, extending Cardoso's ability to stay in this country.

Meanwhile, Blumenthal is among a list of Senators who have written to President Obama asking the Department of Homeland Security grant deferred action on deporting students  like Cardoso. For WNPR, I'm Lucy Nalpathanchil