US senators may tackle Librojo case | Global News

US senators may tackle Librojo case

/ 04:20 AM November 28, 2011

LOS ANGELES—Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin has decided to present the story of undocumented Filipino Jose “JB” Librojo in the US Senate to push for the passage of the Dream Act, a bill that seeks to create a path to citizenship for undocumented people in the United States.

The office of Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate and the bill’s longtime champion, has requested Librojo to document his plight, which the senator will cite as an example of why the act needs to get passed, said Librojo’s lawyer, Arnedo Valera.

Durbin plans to present the Filipino’s case before fellow senators as soon as Librojo, a dental assistant, completes his documentation, Valera said.


Valera described his 32-year-old client as a Dream Act-eligible candidate who came to the United States lawfully as a child and had lived in the country for 16 years.


The Dream Act is a legislative proposal that would provide conditional permanent residency to undocumented immigrants of good moral character who arrived in America as minors, graduated from US high schools and lived in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment.

After Librojo received a deportation order from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) more than a month ago, thousands of supporters launched online petitions and an e-mail campaign appealing for help for him.

Word about the case reached lawmakers, including Senator Durbin, who interceded for Librojo.

Last-minute reprieve

Complying with the deportation order, Librojo prepared to board a Manila-bound plane at San Francisco International Airport on November 8, but was told by the ICE that he did not have to leave.

On November 18, Librojo received a call from Craig Meyer, San Francisco field director for the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, saying his deportation order has been suspended for one year.


“He was given 365 days to exhaust all legal remedies,” said Valera, who is now working to get Librojo an employment-based immigrant visa, which will allow him to adjust his status and become a permanent resident or green card holder.

Another route for Librojo is through his wife Anna de Gorostiza’s H1B, or working visa for professionals, said Valera, who is working on the case in partnership with the Washington-based Migrant Heritage Commission.

Fighting on

Durbin, whose mother migrated to the United States from Lithuania as a toddler, has been pushing for the passage of the Dream Act for the past 10 years.

The bill has been mired in the national debate over how to deal with America’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants—one million of whom are Filipinos.

A native of Laguna, Librojo was 15 years old when he and his family moved to San Francisco, California, in 1995 after they were given political asylum. In 2005, he and his family received deportation orders after their visas were not renewed.

Librojo’s parents left the United States voluntarily in 2006, while his sister moved to Canada.

Librojo stayed on.

Saying Librojo was a victim of a broken immigration system, several community groups, including the Alumni Association of Alpha Phi Omega-Mu Zeta and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (Nafcon), as well as petitioners on, have launched a campaign to stop his deportation.

They argued that the deportation order was not consistent with the new Obama administration policy to avoid deporting illegal immigrants who were not criminals.

‘Everyone’s victory’

Librojo has never committed a crime and has filed his income tax return regularly as a full-time registered dental assistant and dental lab X-ray technician.

Librojo attended Westmoor High School in Daly City, California, and obtained a BS degree in biology from San Francisco State University. He is a member of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity.

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“It’s not just my victory but everyone’s victory,” Librojo said about the one-year suspension of his deportation. “I’d like to thank everyone who stood by me from Day One and up to the last minute.”

TAGS: Dream Act, Jose Librojo, Legislation, Migration, permanent residency, US, US Senate

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