Popular Doctor Ordered Deported
PETERSBURG, Ind. (AP) _ A Filipino physician whose seven-year battle to remain in the United States has received strong public support has been ordered to leave the country by April 1 because he is an illegal alien.
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service refused to grant a stay of deportation for Honesto Fenol, who is one of three doctors serving the 13,000 residents of Pike County, INS spokesman Lawrence Rowe said Friday.
However, the deportation order opens a new avenue of appeal for Fenol, said his lawyer, Terry Feiertag.
Sunday will mark Fenol’s seventh year of U.S. residence, Feiertag said, an anniversary that makes him eligible to apply for a permanent suspension of deportation on grounds he has been a productive resident whose removal from the country would pose a hardship to his family.
″By giving us until April 1, they essentially gave us the ability to file that motion,″ the attorney said.
Fenol, 38, last faced deportation in 1983 but was spared through special legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Frank McCloskey after 6,000 residents signed a petition supporting the physician.
Supporters say many residents would have to drive to distant cities for medical care if Fenol were forced to leave.
A letter-writing campaign on Fenol’s behalf has been urged by Frederick Corn, a pyschology instructor at Vincennes University’s Jasper Center.
″How is it that murderers and rapists from Cuba can enter our country, and yet a Christian doctor, who practices the Hippocratic oath and makes house calls in the night, is in danger of being deported?″ Corn asked in a letter to immigration officials.
Rowe said the immigration service has targeted high-income professionals as deportation targets because they occupy jobs that could be held by Americans.
Feiertag said he has received copies of dozens of letters sent to immigration officials on behalf of Fenol.
″I don’t recall any other case in which there has been such strong community feeling,″ he said.
Fenol moved from the Philippines to Canada in 1973 and arrived in Indiana in 1978 at the invitation of Warrick County Hospital.
He and his wife, Rosabella, have four children, three of whom were born in America and are U.S. citizens.
Mrs. Fenol is scheduled for a deportation hearing March 15, after which she also could be ordered to leave the country.