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Immigration decision shows compassion

Our Opinion

A decision by U.S. immigration officials to allow two Kenyan-born brothers to remain in this country for another year is an appropriate, if temporary, humanitarian gesture that is in line with this country's values.

The plight of Aamir and Hanzallah Khandwalla came to public attention when the Tribune published a March 17 story about the boys, who suffer from a rare medical condition. If the brothers and their family had been sent back to Kenya - after living in Portland for eight years - the two boys' lives could have been endangered because they would not have had access to the medical care they've received at Shriners Hospital for Children.

Immigration officials at first appeared determined to follow through with deportation, but they altered their decision following a public display of support for the family. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services isn't detailing its reasons for the change of heart, and it isn't promising anything beyond the extra year. But the additional time granted will allow the boys' medical treatment to continue.

The Khandwallas' story and public response to it are also a reminder that Americans' views about immigration are much more complicated than the most extreme elements would have us believe. People understand that compassion must be a factor when deciding how to apply the nation's immigration laws.