Filipino Graduate Student Faces Deportation

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LOS ANGELES--In 1990, a 10-year-old boy named Mark Farrales arrived in America with his family, seeking political asylum. Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested Farrales at his Reseda home for being in the country illegally. He is now in the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster, facing deportation.

Farrales was a valedictorian at Belmont High School where he was consistently on the honor roll, eventually graduating at the top of his class. He then went on to Harvard where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in government. Farrales then earned a master’s degree at UC San Diego and was pursuing a doctorate there when he was arrested. “I was in the process of finishing my dissertation on corruption reform,” he said.

Twenty years ago, Farrales and his family left the Philippines abruptly, just days after two alleged hit men shot his father, Jaime, twice in the head outside their home in Quezon City, according to newspaper reports. Jaime, who survived the attack, was a prominent lawyer who often spoke out against government corruption. He had just announced his bid for congress.
Fearing for their lives, the family went to the United States, in Los Angeles on visitor visas and sought political asylum. Jaime argued that the politicians he’d rallied against had tried to have him killed.