Cantwell Hails Napolitano Decision on Chehade

WASHINGTON, DC – Today Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) hailed Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s decision to indefinitely delay the deportation of Alonso Chehade pending a new review. Chehade, a Peruvian national, was brought to the United States by his parents when he was 14. He had faced deportation early next week.


“I am delighted that Secretary Napolitano agreed to take another look at Alonso’s case. Secretary Napolitano and the Obama administration share my commitment to moving ahead with comprehensive immigration reform,” said Cantwell.  “Our immigration system is seriously flawed and I am fighting for reform that is consistent with our history and values and that provides a fair process for all.  I want to thank Secretary Napolitano and the administration for acknowledging this vital need for our nation.” 


In December, Cantwell questioned Napolitano about Mr. Chehade’s case at a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee hearing.  She called upon Napolitano to extend a deferral of Chehade’s pending deportation through the end of 2010. Chehade graduated with honors from high school in Washington state, attended Olympic Community College, and then earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington.  Earlier this year, he took a wrong turn on an interstate highway and was detained after unintentionally crossing into Canada.  Following the December 2009 hearing, the Department of Homeland Security deferred action on Chehade’s case until mid-February. This week Senator Cantwell again urged Secretary Napolitano to take another look at the case.


Cantwell is co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would provide immigration relief to a select group of students like Chehade who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and attend college or have enlisted in the military.