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Crosspost: Rep. Wilson Protects Immigration Status?

Sarah Viets • Sep 20, 2009

A good article from Zachary Roth from TPMMuckraker details Rep. Joe Wilson’s interesting support for immigrants converting to Christianity.

Rep. Joe (“You Lie”) Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s speech last week didn’t exactly make him out to be sympathetic to illegal immigrants, to put it mildly. There’s also little evidence he ever worked as an immigration lawyer, as he’s claimed.

But the South Carolina Republican’s hard line on the issue may not be as consistent as you might expect. In fact, on one recent case, it looks like he went downright soft — and what’s even more interesting is the possible reason why.

In July, Wilson introduced legislation that sought to gain permanent resident status for an illegal immigrant named Sainey H. Fatty. You can see the text of the bill here.

George Finnan, a veteran immigration lawyer, told TPMmuckraker that the measure is what immigration lawyers refer to as a “private bill” — that is, an effort to win legal residence for one particular immigrant. “It’s done, but it’s not done often,” said Finnan. “If I were a congressman, it would be a nice way to make a constituent happy.”

So why would Wilson — the new face of the anti-immigration movement — have acted to help Fatty?

Wilson’s spokesman didn’t return our call. But could Fatty’s Christianity — and his work on behalf of a Christian ministry — have spurred Wilson to intervene?

Bill Cook, an evangelical Christian who claims to be a friend of Fatty’s, wrote on his blog on July 17th (scroll down) that Fatty is a native of Gambia who grew up as a Muslim. After coming to the U.S. in the early 1990s to study at the City University of New York, he converted to Christianity. According to Cook, Fatty has been living for several years in South Carolina, where he works for an international student ministry on the campus of the University of South Carolina.

Indeed, HIS International, a non-denominational Christian group based on the USC campus, lists Fatty as a staff member. Fatty’s short bio on the group’s site confirms that he is from Gambia, and says he has served on staff since 2003.

That profile would likely appeal to the Christian conservative Wilson. In 2007, he co-sponsored a bill which, among other things, “acknowledge[d] the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the US and in the formation of the western civilization; and reject[ed] bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the US and worldwide.”

Read the entire article here http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/09./wilson_authored_bill_to_let_illegal_immigrant_stay.php

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