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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

U.S Congress Passes Bill To Enable 26 Year-Old Nigerian, Sopuruchi Chukwueke Get His Green Card

Sopuruchi Chukwueke, a 26 year-old Nigerian was being considered for a special legislation that will enable him obtain permanent U.S. residency by the United States of America congress in August 2012.

Sopuruchi, a young man grew up as an outcast in the village of Ovim in southeastern Nigeria. Tumors that distorted one side of his face wouldn't stop growing, and doctors said he should be taken away and drowned. In 2001, when he was 15, his parents took him to an orphanage and abandoned him.
He was rescued by a missionary nun, who arranged medical care in the U.S. Eleven years and seven operations later, doctors have removed the benign growths caused by the genetic disease neurofibromatosis, and have performed reconstructive surgery.
However, his challenge was that he had overstayed his visa and had been living in the U.S illegally. In November 2011, he was admitted to the University of Toledo to study Medicine with one condition: that he obtain permanent-residency status by August 1 of this year. The only thing that could enable him obtain permanent U.S. residency was a bill applying solely to him.
Thankfully, the United States Congress passed a private bill last week granting Sopuruchi permanent residency after years of his living in Michigan on an expired visa. The bill is awaiting President Barack Obama‘s signature. According to CNN, his is the only private bill to pass in Congress in two years.
The day Congress passed the bill was one of the happiest days of my life,” Sopuruchi told CNN. “I was overwhelmed with joy; it was nothing less than a miracle. Only in this country can so many miraculous and wonderful things happen to someone like me.”
He lives with the nuns in Oak Park, Michigan. They have cared for him since he came to the U.S., where he has undergone seven surgeries, including one that left him blind in the right eye. Doctors performed Sopuruchi’s surgeries over a period of time, he says, which contributed to his expired visa.
A benefactor later helped him attend Wayne State University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, obtaining a 3.82 GPA. Soon after that, he got admission to study medicine. Speaking about his ambition to become a doctor, he said “My own personal struggles to receive treatment have motivated and encouraged me to pursue a medical career … to alleviate the pain and suffering of others.”
And so, Sopuruchi began his journey to get legalized and has had strangers rally to his help. His attorney Thomas K. Ragland took his case pro bono. A  Michigan Democrat, Sen. Carl Levin sponsored the bill. The measure passed the Senate in the summer and the House last week.
If Obama signs the bill, the State Department will reduce by one the number of immigrant visas available to Nigerians.  That signature, he says, will be his favorite holiday gift.
We are so glad his journey to getting a permanent U.S. residency has gotten this far and we hope President Obama would not hesitate to sign his bill.

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