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11-13-07, 08:19 PM #1
If he was sex victim, boy may get U.S. visa
A 13-year-old illegal immigrant who fled to his native Mexico with his schoolteacher amid a sex scandal may be able to return to the United States under a new visa the government began granting the week before he vanished.
The visa helps illegal immigrants who are victims of sex crimes. If the boy, who has spent most of his life in Lexington, Neb., qualifies, he could stay legally in the United States for four years and eventually apply for permanent residency. It also would extend temporary residency to his parents and his unmarried siblings under 18, if they applied for it.
"It's a win-win," U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokeswoman Marilu Cabrera said of the so-called "U" visa. "It helps us and law enforcement be able to solve a crime, and it certainly helps the individual who is a victim of a crime by giving a green card to not only the victim but the entire family."
The boy and middle-school teacher Kelsey Peterson were found in Mexicali, Mexico, 1,500 miles from where the pair disappeared Oct. 26. Peterson, 25, remains in federal custody in El Centro, Calif. A judge denied bail for her Wednesday, and she was expected to be sent back to Nebraska to face federal charges of crossing state lines to have sex with a minor.
Last week, the boy said he would be willing to return to the United States to testify against Peterson.
Her attorney is stating that the victim may have lied about his age and may be 16 or 17 years old.
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