[Congressional Record Volume 150, Number 93 (Thursday, July 8, 2004)]
[Senate]
[Pages S7821-S7823]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                   LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ACT OF 2003

  Mr. SMITH. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about the need for 
hate crimes legislation. On May 1, 2003, Senator Kennedy and I 
introduced the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, a bill that would 
add new categories to current hate crimes law, sending a signal that 
violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society.
  On November 20, 1995, a young transsexual woman named Chanelle Picket 
was beaten severely and then strangled to death after leaving a gay bar 
in downtown Boston.
  I believe that Government's first duty is to defend its citizens, to 
defend them against the harms that come out of hate. The Local Law 
Enforcement Enhancement Act is a symbol that can become substance. I 
believe that by passing this legislation and changing current law, we 
can change hearts and minds as well.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I offer into the Record my statement 
of support of S. 2548, private relief legislation to provide lawful 
permanent residence status to Shigeru Yamada, a 22-year-old Japanese 
national who lives in Chula Vista, CA.
  I have decided to offer private relief legislation on his behalf 
because I believe that Shigeru Yamada represents a model American 
citizen for whom removal from this country would represent an unfair 
hardship. Without this legislation, Mr. Yamada will be forced to return 
to a country in which he lacks any linguistic, cultural or family ties.
  Mr. Yamada legally entered the United States with his mother and two 
sisters in 1992 at the young age of 10. The family was fleeing from Mr. 
Yamada's alcoholic father, who had been physically abusive to his 
mother, the children and even his own parents. Since the, he has had no 
contact with his father and is unsure if he is even alive. Tragically, 
Mr. Yamada experienced further hardship when his mother was killed in a 
car crash in 1995. Orphaned at the age of 13, Mr. Yamada spent time 
living with his aunt before moving to Chula Vista to live with a close 
friend of his late mother.
  The death of his mother marked more than a personal tragedy for 
Shigeru Yamada; it also served to impede the process for him to 
legalize his status here. At the time of her death, Mr. Yamada's family 
was living legally in the United States. His mother had acquired a 
student visa for herself and her children qualified as her dependents. 
Her death revoked his legal status in the United States. Tragically, 
Mr. Yamada's mother was engaged to an American citizen at the time of 
her death. Had she survived, her son would likely have become an 
American citizen through this marriage.
  Mr. Yamada has exhausted his options under our current immigration 
system of the United States. Throughout high school, he contacted 
attorneys in the hopes of becoming a citizen. Unfortunately, time has 
run out and, for Mr. Yamada, the only option available to him today is 
private relief legislation.
  For several reasons, it would be tragic for Mr. Yamada to be removed 
from the United States and sent to Japan.
  First, since arriving in the United States, Mr. Yamada has lived as a 
model American. He graduated with honors form Eastlake High School in 
2000, where he excelled in both academics and athletics. Academically, 
Mr. Yamada earned a number of awards including being named an 
``Outstanding English Student'' his freshman year, an All-American 
Scholar, and earning the United States National Minority Leadership 
Award. His teacher and coach, Mr. John Inumerable, describes him as 
being ``responsible, hard working, organized, honest, caring and very 
dependable.'' His role as the vice president of the Associated Student 
Body his senior year is an indication of Mr. Yamada's high level of 
leadership, as well as, his popularity and trustworthiness among his 
peers. As an athlete, Mr. Yamada was named the ``Most Inspirational 
Player of the Year'' in junior varsity baseball and football, as well 
as, varsity football. His football coach, Mr. Jose Mendoza, expressed 
his admiration by saying that he has ``seen in Shigeru Yamada the 
responsibility, dedication and loyalty that the average American holds 
to be virtuous.''

  Second, Mr. Yamada has distinguished himself as a local volunteer. As 
a member of the Eastlake High School Link Crew, Mr. Yamada helped 
freshmen find their way around campus, offered tutoring and mentoring 
services, and set an example of how to be a successful member of the 
student body.

[[Page S7822]]

Since graduating from high school, he has volunteered his time as the 
coach of the Eastlake High School girl's softball team. The head coach, 
Mr. Charles Sorge, describes him as an individual full of ``integrity'' 
who understands that as a coach it is important to work as a ``team 
player.'' His level of commitment to the team was further illustrated 
to Mr. Sorge when he discovered, halfway through the season, that Mr. 
Yamada's commute to and from practice was 2 hours long each way. It 
takes an individual with character to volunteer his time to coach and 
never bring up the issue of how long his commute takes him each day. 
Mr. Sorge hopes that, once Mr. Yamada legalizes his status, he can be 
formally hired to continue coaching the team.
  Third, sending Mr. Yamada back to Japan would be an immense hardship 
for him and his family. Mr. Yamada does not speak Japanese. He is 
unaware of the nation's current cultural trends. And, he has no 
immediate family members that he knows of in Japan. Currently, both of 
his sisters are in the process of gaining American citizenship. His 
older sister has married a United States citizen and his younger sister 
is being adopted by a maternal aunt. Since all of his family lives in 
California, sending Mr. Yamada back to Japan would serve to split his 
family apart and separate him from everyone and everything that he 
knows. His sister contends that her younger brother would be ``lost'' 
if he had to return to live in Japan on his own. It is unlikely that he 
would be able to find any gainful employment in Japan due to his 
inability to speak or read Japanese.
  As a member of the Chula Vista community, Mr. Yamada has 
distinguished himself as an honorable individual. His teacher, Mr. 
Robert Hughes, describes him as being an ``upstanding `All-American' 
young man''. Until being picked up during a routine check of his 
immigration status on a city bus, he had never been arrested or 
convicted of any crime. Mr. Yamada is not, and has never been, a burden 
on the State. He has never received any Federal or State assistance.
  Currently, Mr. Yamada is a sophomore at Southwestern Community 
College, where he is working on finishing his general education so that 
he can go on to earn his BA in criminal justice from San Diego State 
University. Mr. Yamada's commitment to his education is admirable. He 
could have easily taken a different path but, through his own 
individual fortitude, he has dedicated himself to his studies so that 
he can live a better life. In the future, Mr. Yamada is interested in 
pursuing a career in criminal law enforcement by serving as a police 
officer or an FBI agent.
  With his hard work and giving attitude, Shigeru Yamada represents the 
ideal American citizen. Although born in Japan, he is truly American in 
every other sense. I ask you to help right a wrong and grant Mr. Yamada 
permanent status so that he can continue towards his bright future.
  I ask unanimous consent three letters of recommendation be printed in 
the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                         Eastlake High School,

                                    Chula Vista, CA, May 21, 2004.
     Hon. Dianne Feinstein,
     U.S. Senator.
       I am writing to bring to your attention the need to support 
     a fine young man, Shigeru Yamada. I am a teacher and coach at 
     Eastlake High School; I have known Shigeru for 8 years, both 
     as a student and as a volunteer coach during the last 5 
     years. What has singularly impressed me about this young man 
     is that he has created himself and never complained about his 
     life's struggles. His mother died when he was young. He got 
     little support from his aunt--materially, emotionally, 
     spiritually. Yet all the while you would not have known that. 
     He set goals for himself academically and athletically; 
     modeled himself on good ideals of community service and 
     service to his school. He was vice-president of the 
     Associated Student Body at Eastlake High and would have 
     pursued an academic future at UCLA were it not for his 
     citizenship status. Instead, he did what he could do and has 
     gone to community college in an effort to pursue his college 
     degree.
       All the while, he volunteered his time during these past 5 
     years to help coach our school's softball team (as well as 
     other sports on campus). It was only recently that I had 
     discovered that it would take him 2 hours with bus transfers 
     just to get to softball practice.
       I provide this information to you as a testimonial to the 
     character of this young man. Exceptional in attitude and 
     determination. We need this kind of spirit and resolve in 
     America. We do not want to export it somewhere else. Please 
     help.
           Respectfully,
                                            Charles R. Sorge, EdD,
     English Teacher and Head Softball Coach.
                                  ____

                                        Edminster Learning Center,


                                         Eastlake High School,

                                  Chula Vista, CA, April 23, 2001.
     To Mr. Bob Filner:
       I'm honored to write this letter for Shigeru Yamada. I have 
     known Shigeru since 1997. A very energetic, bright young man 
     whose personal charge and get after if attitude toward 
     accomplishing his goals, have no equal. A person who 
     personifies the notion of a ``hard charger.''
       As an Instructional aide and Varsity Football coach I have 
     earned great admiration toward Shigeru's work ethic. While in 
     high school, Shigeru received academic honors as an All-
     American Scholar ('99), United States National Minority 
     Leadership Award ('99 & '00), the National Honor Roll ('00), 
     Golden State Awards, and Who's Who Among High School Students 
     ('98-'00). His commitment toward his duties goes with out 
     question. He managed to be a member of the Associative 
     Student Body. Here he received a Presidential Award ('00), 
     ASB Leadership Award ('00), and Eastlake High School ASB Life 
     Membership Award ('00).
       Through his many academic accomplishments Shigeru managed 
     to dedicate himself to many extra curricular activities, such 
     as Football, Baseball, and Wrestling. Other activities 
     included, the Boys Choir (The ``E'' Males), AVID (Advancement 
     via Individual Determination), and Link Crew (assisting 
     incoming freshmen).
       Through my personal experiences as a squad leader in the 
     United States Army (Infantry) and Department Head at Home 
     Depot. I have seen in Shigeru Yamada the responsibility, 
     dedication and loyalty that the average American holds to be 
     virtuous.
       So with great appreciation please endorse a Bill, so that 
     Shigeru Yamada can stay in the United States and become a 
     patriotic citizen.
           Sincerely,
                                                     Jose Mendoza,
     Instructional Aide.
                                  ____



                                         Eastlake High School,

                                                  Chula Vista, CA.
     To Whom It May Concern:
       I would like to write this letter of recommendation on 
     behalf of Shigeru Yamada for his outstanding contributions to 
     Eastlake High School and the Eastlake Community. I have been 
     closely tied to Shigeru for approximately 2 years as teacher, 
     coach, and as a friend. Throughout his years at Eastlake High 
     School, Shigeru has participated successfully in many extra-
     curricular activities and has earned the respect and 
     admiration from staff members, fellow students and the 
     surrounding community. Shigeru has developed into an 
     outstanding performer in Eastlake's football, wrestling and 
     baseball programs. He is strongly admired for his 
     sportsmanship, work ethic and most of all his natural ability 
     as a team leader. For his efforts, Shigeru was recognized for 
     athletic and academic achievements by being selected to the 
     1998-99 San Diego Union Tribune All-Academic Wrestling Team. 
     Although Shigeru spends much of his time with competitive 
     sports, he always finds time to help other students in need. 
     Shigeru is an active participant with the Eastlake Link Crew. 
     This organization was established to assist our ninth graders 
     with finding their way around campus, learning school 
     traditions, tutoring, mentoring, monitoring academic progress 
     and setting examples of how to be a successful member of our 
     campus environment. Academically, Shigeru excels in the 
     mathematics and is presently taking Honors Pre-Calculus while 
     carrying a 3.8 overall Grade Point Average. In addition, 
     Shigeru is an active member in the AVID (Advancement Via 
     Individual Achievement) program. This program helps our 
     students develop academic skills that are beneficial for them 
     when they attend college. Shigeru is also a member of the 
     Associated Student Body. The ASB is the bloodline of our 
     campus. This outstanding group of students work endless hours 
     organizing pep assemblies and lunchtime activities, sells 
     concessions at all extra-curricular events and assist in all 
     campus elections and dances as well as providing support 
     services for faculty and staff members. In several 
     conversations, I have discovered that Shigeru has a strong 
     interest in the field of Physical Therapy with an emphasis in 
     Sports Medicine. I strongly believe that Shigeru is capable 
     of reaching his goals because he is highly motivated, 
     conscientious and extremely competent.
       It is very easy to praise Shigeru for his personal 
     achievements, but I think his personality is what makes him a 
     great human being. Shigeru is responsible, hard working, 
     organized, honest, caring and very dependable. On a daily 
     basis, Shigeru volunteers his time selling concessions during 
     nutrition break and lunch hour for the ASB food services. 
     This job holds Shigeru accountable for large sums of money, 
     an accurate account of inventories and timely service. Very 
     few students have been trusted with this major 
     responsibility. Another word that describes Shigeru is 
     resiliency. Within the past couple of years Shigeru lost both 
     of his parents in a tragic automobile accident. Consequently,

[[Page S7823]]

     this sad episode has left a permanent impression on Shigeru. 
     Fortunately, Shigeru has overcome this tragedy and has 
     maintained a standard for other young people to follow. 
     Shigeru has proven to me that life is too important to waste 
     and to enjoy every moment by being an active member of 
     society, not just a spectator.
           Sincerely,
     John Inumerable.

                          ____________________