IMMIGRATION WOES: U.S. gives teenager approval to work
Via The Toledo Blade
PANDORA, Ohio – In time to start college this
fall, a German-born teenager who has been fighting to stay in the
United States has been granted employment authorization by U.S.
immigration officials, his attorney said yesterday.
That means Manuel Bartsch can for the first time get a Social Security
number, a driver’s license, a job, go to college, and as he put it, “be
Mr. Bartsch, 19, made international headlines in December when he was
jailed and ordered deported after meeting with immigration officials in
Cleveland to try to iron out his legal status.
He ultimately was released and allowed to finish his senior year at
Pandora-Gilboa High School, but his future remains uncertain as he
awaits an as yet-unscheduled hearing in immigration court.
“The key thing is, he’s not subject to immediate removal or detention,”
his attorney, David Leopold, said. “This development is a good one
because it permits him at least in the interim to continue to get his
Mr. Bartsch said in a telephone interview that he was scheduled to
begin business courses at the University of Northwestern Ohio in Lima
on Oct. 3. He took a placement test at the private college Thursday, he
said, but was not able to register for classes because he lacked a
Social Security number.
Shawn Saucier, spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,
confirmed that an employment authorization document would enable Mr.
Bartsch to get a Social Security number and legally work in the United
States. Admission to college is dependent upon the college, he said.
Mr. Bartsch, who was accepted to the University of Northwestern Ohio
before he graduated in May, said he was encouraged by the latest
development in his case.
“I’ve been hanging out with my uncle and friends – just trying to have
a good time,” he said. “That’s about all I could do. I’m not allowed to
work at all. I’ve had some boring days. I’ve done a lot of Xbox
The teenager was born in 1987 in Germany, where he was reared by his
grandparents. His grandmother was killed in an auto accident in 1993.
His step-grandfather, Toby Deal, brought him to Putnam County on a 90-day visa waiver when he was 10.
Mr. Bartsch didn’t learn until he was much older that Mr. Deal never
filled out the necessary forms that would have made it legal for him to
stay in the country. Over Christmas break, he went to Cleveland to try
to straighten out his situation with immigration officials, but instead
he spent two weeks in jail.
Mr. Leopold, a Cleveland immigration attorney, took his case for free
and was able to get a federal immigration judge to listen to Mr.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agreed to release Mr. Bartsch,
and his case is now on hold while two private immigration bills
intended to give him permanent resident status make their way through
Mr. Bartsch, who is now living with Mr. Deal’s brother, Chuck, near
Ottawa, Ohio, said he was “just glad that I got the work authorization
so I can go to school and hopefully wait it out.”