SAN FRANCISCO -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is intervening to help City College of San Francisco student Steve Li, whose pending deportation to Peru has unleashed an outpouring of public support.
A spokesman for the Democratic lawmaker said late Friday that Pelosi is working with other members of Congress to "recommend that (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) grant deferred action in this case."
Immigration officials have the discretion to halt a deportation in extraordinary cases. Li is due to be deported Monday, his attorney has said.
Advocates and friends of Li spent all day Friday writing letters and rallying outside the San Francisco offices of Sen. Barbara Boxer and other lawmakers.
"Speaker Pelosi believes that Steve Li's case is a textbook example of the pressing need for comprehensive immigration reform and passage of the DREAM Act," said spokesman Drew Hammill.
The DREAM Act would give green cards to students, such as Li, who were brought to the United States at a young age, graduated from high school and enroll in college.
Immigration agents arrested Li, 20, and his parents Sept. 15, six years after a judge had ordered the family to leave the country. The student, who wanted to become a nurse, has spent weeks in a detention facility in Arizona where illegal immigrants are held before being deported. His parents, who were born in China, brought Li to the United States when he was 12.
Advocates, while seeking his release, have also tried to prepare for what happens if Li is flown next week to Peru, where he knows no one.
"He has no suitcase, no clothes, just the clothes on his back the day he was arrested. No relatives, no friends," said Sin Yen Ling, his lawyer.