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[Congressional Record: September 3, 2002 (Senate)]
[Page S8093-S8100]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

[ ... ] 

      By Mr. THURMOND:
  S. 2898. A bill for the relief by Jaya Gulab Tolani and Hitesh Gulab 
Tolani; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. THURMOND. Madam President, I rise to introduce a private relief 
bill that would provide permanent legal resident status for Hitesh 
Tolani and his mother, Jaya Tolani, who face voluntary removal from 
this country.
  I feel that the Tolanis' case presents a compelling need for 
legislative action. Hitesh Tolani, who is a scholarship student at 
Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC, came to the United States with his 
mother, Jaya, and father, Gulab, in 1984. When Hitesh arrived in this 
country, he was a toddler. Hitesh has a younger brother, Ravi, who was 
born here and is a United States citizen.
  The Tolanis' efforts to become United States citizens was beset by 
tragedy. Gulab's brother, who served as a sponsor, died during the 
family's efforts to become legal permanent residents. Furthermore, just 
days before Gulab was to interview in New York in hopes of gaining 
legal permanent resident status for himself and his family, he passed 
away. Jaya was left with no way to legalize her or Hitesh's status. In 
the same year in which Gulab died, Jaya was also diagnosed with breast 
cancer. In the midst of these difficulties, Jaya was left with very few 
  When Hitesh learned of his illegal status, he made the decision to 
turn himself into the authorities. After removal proceedings commenced, 
Hitesh and Jaya sought relief in the form of cancellation of removal. 
In order to succeed in this effort, it must be shown that the removal 
would result in ``exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.'' In this 
case, the Immigration court found that the Tolanis' case did not rise 
to this level of hardship. The court came to this conclusion despite 
the fact that Hitesh has lived the vast majority of his life in the 
United States and is in the middle of his college studies. If forced to 
leave the country, Hitesh's studies will be significantly interrupted, 
and he will be required to return to a land that he does not remember. 
Additionally, Hitesh will be placed at a social and educational 
disadvantage because he is not fluent in the Hindi language.
  During this important time in Hitesh's life, he will leave the only 
home that he has ever known. Yet the events surrounding his entry into 
the United States were completely out of his control. Hitesh has done 
nothing but contribute in positive ways to his hometown community of 
Irmo, SC, and the Wofford College community. He has demonstrated 
excellent moral character and has always been a model student.
  Relocation to India would also create extreme hardship for Jaya, who 
is in remission from breast cancer. She would have to abandon her 
clothing store business in South Carolina and return to a land that she 
has not seen for twenty years. She also faces the potential breakup of 
her family due to the status of her youngest son, Ravi, who is a U.S. 
citizen. Ravi would be forced to go to India with the rest of his 
family or face the prospect of foster care. Ravi is not fluent in 
Hindi, but is very proficient in English. Ravi is also an asthmatic who 
must periodically use an inhaler machine. He would be subject to 
unhealthy air quality in Bombay, the city where the Tolanis' closest 
relatives reside and the place where they would settle.
  The Tolani family appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and 
the Immigration Judge's decision was affirmed without comment. The 
family is now appealing to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, but 
the standard of review is deferential, making this an uphill climb for 
Hitesh and Jaya.
  I have always been a strong proponent of enforcing our Nation's 
immigration laws. However, the Tolanis' case represents one of those 
rare instances where removal would be unjust. The Tolani family, if 
forced to leave this country, will face exceptional hardship. Hitesh is 
a fine young man and an outstanding student. Through no fault of his 
own, he faces the prospect of leaving the only home that he has ever 
known. I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in 
the Record.
  There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                                S. 2898

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for purposes of 
     the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), 
     Jaya Gulab Tolani and Hitesh Gulab Tolani shall be held and 
     considered to have been lawfully admitted to the United 
     States for permanent residence as of the date of enactment of 
     this Act upon payment of the required visa fees.


       Upon the granting of permanent residence to Jaya Gulab 
     Tolani and Hitesh Gulab Tolani, as provided in section 1, the 
     Secretary of State shall instruct the proper officer to 
     reduce by the appropriate number during the current fiscal 
     year the total number of immigrant visas available to natives 
     of the country of the aliens' birth under section 203(a) of 
     the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(a)).