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2005-01-29—Coleman—Tchisou Tho

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2005 blog


Keeping up with Jewish officeholders

Coleman seeks happy ending

to saga of Tchisou Tho
,  Jan. 29, 2005

There was one hitch in the great American success story of Tchisou Tho, a Hmong immigrant, who was an honor roll student in high school, active in his community church, and who loved to hang out with his friends.  His parents had brought him to the United States illegally when he was 5 years old 

Just as Tchisou was about to graduate high school in 2003, the family was ordered by immigration authorities to leave the country. Through the intercession of Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn), the parents and Tchisou’s siblings were allowed to remain long enough to watch Tchisou become the first-ever high school graduate in their family.

Tchisou’s family had fled wartime Laos in 1975 and had settled in France. They came to the United States on a visitors visa and stayed illegally for 14 years.

Coleman’s special legislation permitted Tchisou, who had become something of a cause celebré  in Minnesota, to remain in the state to attend the University of Minnesota. Tchisou moved in with his married sister in St. Paul, but was unable to afford the out-of-state tuition, so dropped out to work on a loading dock, where he soon was honored as employee of the month.

Coleman now has legislation pending to grant permanent resident status to Tchisou, which not only would mean he could remain in the United States but also would qualify him for in-state rates for tuition.

”I hope Congress will be able to act on this important legislation early this year so that Tchisou may enroll at the University of Minnesota, graduate, and continue to be a great asset to our state and his community,” Coleman said on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

“He is a good kid and a good student who has been working hard to support himself, but is caught in a tough situation. I’m determined to see that he gets to stay in Minnesota and is able to go back to school and get his degree.”
        —Donald H. Harrison