Silbert Anderson, the Jamaican resident manager of an Adams-Morgan apartment building whose fight to keep from being deported has become a cause celebre in his community, has won a reprieve through the intercession of Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Ind).
Anderson had been ordered to leave the United States by today. But in the closing minutes of the Senate session Monday evening Bayh introduced a private immigration bill that will allow Anderson to stay in the country at least for the immediate future and possibly for good.
"It's too much to tell you how I feel," Anderson said yesterday. "I'm felling more than great."
Anderson, 33, has been living illegally in the United States since 1975. For more than three years he has been resident manager at 1760 Euclid St. NW.
Anderson was arrested and ordered deported in 1977 after his estranged wife turned his passport over to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Since then friends and lawyers have been fighting through appeals and administrative proceedings to keep him in the country long enough to divorce his wife and marry the American citizen he says he loves. His new wife could then petition the INS to adjust his status to permanent legal resident.
Bayh was contacted by friends of Anderson who persuaded the senator to introduce the bill. The action was taken immediately "to foreclose his being deported until the staff can further investigate Anderson's case," a Bayh aide said.
If that investigation does not cause them to withdraw the bill, the aide said, it probably will take from six months to a year before the Senate acts on the legislation, which would make Anderson a permanent resident. In the meantime immigration proceedings against him are brought to a half.