Jeff City girl wins reprieve

Immigrant student facing deportation

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Missouri college student who waged a highly
publicized campaign to fight her deportation to Costa Rica has received
another extension of her stay in the United States.

Marie Gonzalez can remain in the country for one more year under the
decision reached by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, agency
spokesman Dean Boyd said yesterday.

The 20-year-old student won a similar reprieve last year, but that would have expired on July 1.

“It’s been a crazy day,” Gonzalez said in a telephone interview. “I haven’t really had a chance to let it sink in.”

Gonzalez said she called her parents in Costa Rica immediately after hearing the news yesterday morning.

“Dad and I both cried on the phone together,” she said. “We were both overwhelmed. This is what they wanted to hear.”

Gonzalez was born in Costa Rica but has lived in Jefferson City since
she was 5. Her parents, who entered the country in 1991 on six-month
visitor visas, say they misunderstood legal advice and missed their
chance to apply for permanent status.

Gonzalez’s father, Marvin, was working in Gov. Bob Holden’s office as a
courier and mail opener when he was fired in 2002 after an anonymous
tip about his status. Gonzalez’s parents were both deported to Costa
Rica in 2005.

After a nationwide publicity campaign last year – and personal appeals
for her from Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., and
other high-profile lawmakers – immigration officials granted Marie
Gonzalez a one-year deferment.

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