A Nigerian immigrant’s dream came true when President Barack Obama signed into law a rare private bill granting him permanent residency in the Unites States.
Victor Chukwueke, who lives in Michigan on an expired visa, came to the United States 11 years ago to undergo treatment for massive face tumors.
He graduated from a university in the state, and plans to attend an Ohio medical school that requires him to have permanent residency, also known as a green card.
In a rare act, the United States Congress passed a private bill this month granting him permanent residency. Obama signed the bill Friday.
Private bills — which only apply to one person and mostly focus on immigration — are rarely approved. His is the only one to pass in Congress in two years.
“I was overwhelmed with joy; it was nothing less than a miracle,” the 26-year-old says. “Only in this country can so many miraculous and wonderful things happen to someone like me.”
Before coming to the United States at age 15, Chukwueke lived in the southeastern Nigeria town of Ovim.
He suffers from neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes massive life-threatening tumors on his face.
Treated as an outcast because of his deformed face, he was depressed and humiliated, he says. His family abandoned him at an orphanage after taking him to the nation’s best facilities for treatment.