HARTFORD, Conn. — The state's highest-ranking elected officials are rallying to halt the deportation of a Mexican-born college student, wading into the national immigration debate with pleas for an undocumented youth the governor says is "for all intents and purposes" an American.
The student, 23-year-old Mariano Cardoso, has lived in the United States since his family entered the country illegally when he was a toddler. He is due to graduate next month from Capitol Community College in Hartford with an engineering degree.
In discussions with federal immigration officials, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, both Democrats, have highlighted Cardoso's personal achievements in asking for him to be allowed to stay. On Wednesday, Malloy wrote a letter formally asking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to defer the deportation.
Cardoso, in an interview Wednesday, said, "I'm really surprised and glad there is something happening for me and I'm not alone."
Cardoso is facing deportation any day after losing a legal battle to stay in the country. Blumenthal, however, said discussions with federal officials have made him optimistic there is no imminent plan to send Cardoso back to Mexico. He said his office will remain vigilant. "We have been involved very closely," Blumenthal said. "I happened to meet Mariano and learned about what he's done, his studies and his background, and his story is a very compelling one."
The office of Sen. Joe Lieberman also has sought a solution to the case, according to spokeswoman Whitney Phillips, who said it highlights why the independent U.S. senator supports comprehensive immigration reform.