In a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Citizen and Immigration Services, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy asked that the deportation of a Connecticut student, illegally living in the U.S., be deferred.
The student, Mariano Cardoso, has been living in the country since his parents brought him over the Mexican border when he was 22 months old, according to a prepared statement from the Malloy administration.
Cardoso is now only a month away from earning an engineering degree from Capitol Community College in Hartford, the statement said. But the New Britain resident is facing a deportation order; something the governor is hoping to put on hold.
“Congress needs to address immigration reform in a comprehensive and common-sense manner, but until that happens, we cannot allow young men and women like Mariano, who, through no fault of their own were brought here as children, lose this chance at a better life,” Malloy said. “For all intent and purpose, Mariano is American. To send him back to a country he has no recollection of, and did not grow up in, makes little sense, particularly as he is finishing his degree and looking to contribute to his community and this state.”
Through a prepared statement, Malloy reasserted his support for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act), which would allow people in Cardoso’s situation to apply for temporary legal status and eventually citizenship. But on Wednesday, Malloy said that even if it is approved, the measure wouldn’t become law soon enough to help Cardoso.
In mailing the letter Wednesday morning, Malloy joins Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who last week was one of 22 senators who signed a letter to President Barack Obama calling for a blanket deferral of deportation orders for people in situations similar to Cardoso’s.
That letter notes the Obama administration deported a record number of illegal immigrants last year and appeals to the president using his own words from this year’s State of the Union address.
“Let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who could be staffing our research labs or starting a new business, who could be further enriching this nation,” the letter quotes the president saying.
Blumenthal said Thursday that he met with Cardoso a few months ago and was immediately impressed.
“He’s the perfect example, almost the poster child, for why we need the DREAM Act,” he said.
Blumenthal said his staff has been in contact with the Homeland Security Department and he has spoken with Cardoso’s lawyer. He is hoping that between his request and Malloy’s, DHS will defer Cardoso deportation. But the senator stopped short of saying he would file a private bill on behalf of the young man.
A private bill can defer deportation but must be filed by a member of Congress. Blumenthal said he wouldn’t speculate if such a move will be necessary until he was sure other avenues had been exhausted.
Cardoso’s lawyer Anthony Collins said he’s hopeful letters signed by two Connecticut heavyweights will sway immigration officials, but said it’s difficult to predict an outcome.
“It’s a matter of administrative grace,” he said Wednesday.
On Thursday, Malloy recorded an interview regarding Cardoso’s case with CBS news. That interview will air during Saturday’s CBS Evening News, according to his office.