Spare a thought for Jan Reddy, and others like her.
When Reddy, a Dubliner, discovered earlier this year that the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service had decided to deny her a visa extension, her first thought was not for herself.
It was for her 6-year-old daughter, Chelsea, and how she would manage without the special therapy that has helped the little girl cope with her severe disabilities.
Only with the intervention of politicians such as Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Senator-elect Charles Schumer has Reddy been granted humanitarian parole, a decision that will allow her some reprieve and another year without additional worry.
The term humanitarian is fitting. But that Reddy had to go to such lengths is in itself scandalous.
Without her parole, Reddy would have been forced to leave the U.S. and her daughter, an American citizen, would have been removed from the programs that during the last two years have allowed her make significant progress.
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Jan Reddy is not alone. Countless immigrants, from Ireland and elsewhere, have faced similar INS indifference to their extraordinary circumstances. Unlike Reddy, many of them have not been as fortunate in the political attention their cases have received.
Reddy’s attorney has quite rightly called for a private bill that might provide hope to others who find their difficulties drowned in the quagmire of INS bureaucracy. Schumer’s office, which worked behind the scenes with immigration officials on Reddy’s behalf, has already said it will continue to look into such a proposal.
Cases such as Reddy’s should not be lost in the monolith that is the INS. A private bill pushed by our own New York leaders could go a long way to assuring that personal nightmares suffered in silence are not lost in legal morass of immigration law.