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Senator Tries to Give Guy a Break: Citizenship

TIMES STAFF WRITER

All Guy Taylor wants is to serve his country--not his native Canada, but this country, where he spent much of his childhood and later returned when he needed a home.

But to enlist in the U.S. Army, the 18-year-old must be a permanent U.S. resident.

For two years--since he was orphaned in Canada--he has lived with his maternal grandparents in Garden Grove. He studied U.S. history so he could graduate from Pacifica High School last year. He is now a freshman at Cypress College, where he is studying philosophy.

Taylor has passed all his military tests and has qualified for enlistment. The Army wants him, but he has no green card, which allows noncitizens to live and work here. This summer, he could be deported to Canada, though he has no family there.

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But not if U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) can help it. Moved by a petition signed by 1,000 Orange County residents, Feinstein introduced a bill this week that would make Taylor a permanent resident.

“The case of Guy Taylor is a compelling story of human need and one that calls for action,” Feinstein said. “It is my hope that this legislation can be approved quickly so we can help Guy rebuild his life and continue to contribute to his community.”

A handful of such so-called private bills, which must be approved by the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, are introduced each legislative session, said Jim Hock, a spokesman for Feinstein. The senator also introduced legislation Monday for a 20-year-old Northridge man whose mother died shortly after they fled from El Salvador 10 years ago.

Another private bill introduced by other members of Congress on Monday would grant U.S. citizenship to Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy at the center of a heated international custody dispute.

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“We’re elated,” said immigration attorney Carl Shusterman, who is representing Taylor for free. “Guy has spent most of his life growing up in the United States, and his only family is here. What is the counterargument?”

Taylor was born in Canada but soon moved with his mother to the United States, where he lived through the third grade. He returned from Canada to live with his grandparents after his mother died in 1998.

That year, the Immigration and Naturalization Service allowed Taylor to enter the United States with his grandmother by granting him a rare, one-year humanitarian parole. The INS last year granted an extension, which expires this summer.

Taylor does not qualify for legal residence through his grandparents because he is too old.

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