Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Colombian MSB Student May Face Deportation

As most 20-year-olds are getting ready for their 21st birthday celebrations, Juan Gomez (MSB ’11) must begin preparing himself for possible deportation from the United States.

According to The Washington Post, Gomez and his family moved to the U.S. from Colombia in 1990 on a six-month visa. When the visa ran out, the Gomez family decided to stay and eventually filed for political asylum, the Post article states.

In 1999, the Gomez’s case reached a court hearing, but the judge denied their application for political asylum, the Post states. After the family made several appeals, according to the Post, the government gave the family 30 days to leave the country on Nov. 25, 2003. The article states that the family remained in the States after the judge ruled against their appeal, but was eventually caught.

“After the Gomezes left the immigration detention center, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), a co-sponsor of the failed [The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act], also filed a private bill on behalf of Juan and [his brother Alex] for the Senate to consider,” the article states. “Dodd’s bill gave the brothers a much longer reprieve from deportation, allowing them to stay in the United States until this year.”

The Dream Act, was a proposed bill in Congress that would provide an opportunity for illegal immigrants who graduated from an American high school, have good legal standing and have lived in the United States for at least five years, to gain a permanent U.S. residency. The Dream Act failed in the Senate in October 2007.

Today at Georgetown, university spokesperson Julie Bataille said that the university supports Gomez and the Dream Act.

“I can tell you that Georgetown is aware of this student’s situation. Through Georgetown’s work with [the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities], the university has been supportive of the Dream Act,” Bataille said in an e-mail. “In addition, Sen. Dodd’s office has indicated to Georgetown officials that his office will be reintroducing the legislation in the Senate.”

Gomez told the Post that getting into Georgetown was one of the most amazing moments in his life.

“I felt rejuvenated,” Gomez said. “I had finally got into a school. Even if the financial aid hadn’t come through, I felt this showed I deserved to be there, at least.”

Sandra Layton, director of International Student and Scholar Services at Georgetown, said that the university does not consider legal status when admitting students.

“Georgetown doesn’t bar enrollment for people who are of illegal status, but I don’t know if the university was aware of this [situation] or not,” she said.

Layton added that there are support services for students in this type of situation.

“Generally when students come to us, we help them get student visas. With [Gomez] we haven’t really had that much contact, if any. Essentially, when a student is admitted to Georgetown, they indicate whether they need a student visa or if they have some other status that allows them to study,” Layton said. “His status is being worked on [by] very competent attorneys. He probably reported to us some information, but we didn’t help with an F-1 or J-1 student visa.”

Even with this support, Gomez could face deportation in the near future.

“Juan’s lawyers are lobbying Dodd to reintroduce his private bill in the Senate,” The Post article states. “If Dodd or another senator doesn’t, Juan and [his brother Alex] will likely face a deportation order.”

Gomez declined to comment for this story on the advice of legal counsel.

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