Immigration officials ordered a northwest Ohio high school student deported to his native Germany, denying his request to stay in the United States until he graduates in the spring. Manuel Bartsch, 18, who came to the U.S. on a 90-day visa waiver with his step-grandfather in 1997, had been living in Gilboa, a small village about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Toledo, thinking he was a U.S. citizen.
Bartsch, who was jailed last week after discovering that his grandfather never completed the necessary paperwork to make his stay legal, pleaded with immigration officials to allow him to complete the two credits he needs to get his diploma. Instead, the government said Thursday that he will be deported within 90 days.
David Leopold, an immigration law expert and professor at Case Western Reserve University who is Bartsch's attorney, said he won't give up despite the fact his client has no legal option to appeal. "We need to remember this is not the decision of a judge, this is the decision of a bureaucrat and it can be changed," Leopold said.
He said Bartsch didn't choose to be here illegally, his step-grandfather did that by neglecting to act on his behalf. "To saddle him with the consequences of the adult's decision is unconscionable," Leopold said. "People in this country have a good sense of right and wrong, and in their guts they know this is wrong." I.L.