PHILADELPHIA – A doctor and his wife who face deportation because of a long-ago mistake on their immigration paperwork reported to federal authorities Monday but were allowed to return home while lawyers seek political support for them to remain in the U.S.
Dr. Pedro Servano and his wife, Salvacion, obeyed an order to meet with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Philadelphia and were told to report back in 60 days, attorney Gregg Cotler said. No deportation date was set, he said.
"I think that's very hopeful," Cotler said.
The Servanos, parents of four U.S. citizens and prominent members of their central Pennsylvania community, could be deported to their native Philippines because of a change in their marital status during their visa-application process more than 20 years ago.
The Servanos were single in 1978 when they applied for U.S. visas. They did not receive them until after they were married, but U.S. officials were not notified of the change in their marital status.
Immigration officials noticed the discrepancy when the Servanos applied to be U.S. citizens in 1990. They accused the couple of misrepresentation and began deportation proceedings, Cotler said.
All appeals have been exhausted, and their last hope is for Congress to pass special legislation allowing them to stay, Cotler said.
The 60-day reprieve "gives us more time to examine all of the facts in this case and see what options are available through Immigration and Customs Enforcement," said Democratic Rep. Christopher Carney, who represents the couple's hometown of Selinsgrove.
Sens. Arlen Specter and Bob Casey also said they were working with the Servanos and immigration officials.
ICE spokesman Michael Gilhooly could not discuss specifics but said the Servanos were placed under certain restrictions Monday and allowed to return home. They were also informed of their obligation to begin making arrangements to leave the country related to the government's final deportation order, he said.