President Obama will decide whether Sopuruchukwu Chukwueke remains in America or not.
A Nigerian living with a genetic disorder that causes facial tumors has earned a United State’s House of Representatives’ bill to stay back and study in America.
The law was written to apply only to Sopuruchukwu Chukwueke, according to U.S. Senator, Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, who sponsored the legislation.
The U.S. House passed it Tuesday and the Senate has already approved the bill which is now headed for Mr. Obama’s desk.
The law, made for Mr. Sopuruchukwu alone, allows him to remain in the U.S. despite the expiration of his visa. He will get the green card he needs to stay and study in America If Mr. Obama signs the legislation.
Mr. Sopuruchukwu, 26, intends to enroll in medical school at the University of Toledo, which has been waiting for his immigration status to be resolved.
“Only in this country can something this wonderful happen to someone like me,” Mr. Sopuruchukwu, whose middle name is Victor, said to Reuters. “This is the best gift for Christmas ever.”
He hopes to be admitted to the University of Toledo’s medical school after the president accents to the bill.
Of the 83 private-relief measures introduced in the last two years, Chukwueke’s bill, S. 285, is the only one to have been passed by both houses of Congress, Reuters news agency said.
The bill would grant permanent residency to Mr. Chukwueke as long as he applies for it within two years of the bill becoming law. It would reduce, by one, the number of immigrant visas available to Nigerians and would bar preferential treatment for members of his family.
“Victor’s amazing courage and determination exemplify much of what is so great about our country,” Mr. Levin said in a statement. “Already, his example has enriched Michigan and our nation, but I know that his contributions to our country are only beginning.”
Raised by Catholic nuns
According to Mr. Levin’s office, the Nigerian was born into impoverished conditions in Nigeria and suffered from neurofibromatosis, a condition in which tumors deformed his face. His parents abandoned him to an orphanage, and the Catholic nuns in Nigeria arranged for him to travel to the United States for treatment when he was 15.
He relocated to Southfield, Michigan, where he endured seven surgeries over the next 11 years. Even as he underwent seven surgeries, one of which resulted in the loss of his right eye, Mr. Sopuruchukwu graduated from Wayne State University with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and chemical biology with a 3.82 grade-point average.
Because he was in the United States under an expired visa, he was living under threat of deportation from the United States. Mr. Levin introduced legislation, known as a private bill, granting the immigrant permanent legal resident status. Though such bills rarely become law, immigration authorities generally defer deportation proceedings so long as such a bill is pending.
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