IM this article to a friend!

February 4, 2005

Deportation hearing delayed for interpreter

From: Tri-Valley Herald, CA - Feb 4, 2005

Attorney says it's a positive sign for translator who wants to stay in U.S.

By Barry Shatzman, STAFF WRITER

FREMONT — An interpreter for people who are blind and deaf has been granted new life in his bid to remain in the United States.

A deportation hearing for Gerry Dulalia, scheduled for Tuesday morning, was put off until more information could be obtained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to Marcia Perez, the attorney representing Dulalia.

"What we thought would be a trial turned into a status conference," she said.

Perez was tight-lipped about why she thought the judge requested the delay, other than to say, "Things are looking up for Gerry."

Dulalia, 39, has been in the United States since 1987, both as a student and an interpreter in Ohlone College's deaf studies department. He signs into the hands of students who are both blind and deaf, one of only a dozen or so such interpreters in the Bay Area.

But there's more to Dulalia's story than his rare way of bringing the world to people who are blind and deaf.

His Filipino father fought with U.S. forces in World War II, under a promise of American citizenship from President Franklin Roosevelt. Congress revoked the promise in 1946 — an act that would take almost 45 years to be judged illegal. Dulalia's father was finally granted his citizenship in 1995. Had it been granted when promised, Gerry Dulalia would have been born an American.

Perez said she is not sure what will happen next, but that the court will revisit the issue within the next few weeks. She was not alone in expressing her happiness about the direction things may be taking for her client.

When informed of the news, Joe McLaughlin, Ohlone's dean of deaf studies, broke into a huge smile.

"I'm very relieved," McLaughlin said.

Tony C. Yang of the Ohlone College Monitor contributed to this report.

© 2005 Tri-Valley Herald