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Wednesday, Sep 02nd

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You are here News Human Rights Strict U.S. immigration laws ignore life-and-death decisions in case of ill NJ girl

Strict U.S. immigration laws ignore life-and-death decisions in case of ill NJ girl

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Visa denied ill child

Here’s the choice: Strict enforcement of immigration laws or the life of a little girl. So far, the U.S. Department of State has chosen enforcement, but, maybe, that will change.

"We’re sure that, once the government has all the facts, it will recognize the seriousness of the situation," says Marian Habib, a lawyer for the American Friends Service Committee in Newark.

She represents the family of Yarelis Bonilla, a 5-year-old Elizabeth resident who suffers from "very high risk acute lymphocytic leukemia," according to one of her doctors. It’s a disease that is "life-threatening and extremely serious," according to a report from the pediatrics department at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.

Her "best chance at survival," the report continues, is a bone-marrow transplant from a donor who is a perfect match.

Fortunately, Yarelis has a 7-year-old sister, Gisselle, who is a perfect match for the transplant.

Unfortunately, Gisselle lives in El Salvador and has been twice denied a visa by the American embassy there to come to the United States to help save her sister. Yarelis, born here, is a U.S. citizen.

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