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UCSD Student Faces Deportation After Father’s Death Left Immigration Process Incomplete

— A doctorate student at UC San Diego, who came to this country from the Philippines when he was 10 but was never naturalized because his father died without completing the immigration process, is facing deportation absent intervention by lawmakers, it was reported Sunday.

Mark Farrales, a magna cum laude Harvard graduate who was working on his doctorate in government when he was arrested last month, is being held in a detention center in Lancaster, hoping that a last ditch appeal to lawmakers will put a halt to his deportation, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"I'm saddened but not angry," Farrales told the newspaper. If deported, "I wouldn't be going home -- I'd be forced to leave my home again."

Farrales has appealed to Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as to Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, to introduce a private immigration bill on his behalf.

If a lawmaker agrees and a congressional committee agrees to order an investigative report, his deportation could be delayed.

Such a bill would "give Mark a fighting chance to pursue his own avenues for relief to remain in the United States and give him, for the first time, his day in court," his lawyer, Leon Hazany, said.

Farrales, now 31, was just a child when his family arrived in 1990. His father, Jaime, a prominent lawyer who just announced a bid for congress in the Philippines, had just survived an alleged assassination attempt.

After working with immigration officials for years, the elder Farrales died in 2006, leaving Mark, his mother and his three sisters in limbo. Two of his sisters have married U.S. citizens and the third is planning to marry, while one of the sisters has petitioned immigration officials on her mother's behalf, The Times reported.

Before leaving for Harvard, Farrales asked his father's attorneys if he should pursue his own political asylum application or apply for a student visa. They told him neither was available to him because he was included in his father's case, Hazany said.

Boxer's and Feinstein's offices said Friday that they were reviewing the case. Sherman's office is looking into the private bill option and investigating any other appropriate actions that could be of help to Farrales, spokesman Matt Farrauto told The Times.

In each session of Congress, dozens of private bills are introduced, but most of them go nowhere. On Wednesday, however, Congress approved two.

One would grant legal status for the Japanese widow of a Marine from Tennessee who was killed in Iraq before the birth of their son.

The other, co-introduced by Feinstein, would grant citizenship to a Japanese man in San Diego whose mother was killed in a car accident when he was a teenager. He went on to live with a family member but was never legally adopted. Both require President Barack Obama's signature to become law.

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