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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 7, 2008


Schumer Goes To Bat For Family Of Columbia Phd Student Killed Last Week - Makes Direct Appeal To State Department To Approve Travel Visa For Grief Stricken Parents


Parents of Minghui Yu, Who Was Killed Friday After He Was Chased in the Streets During an Assault, Have Not Yet Received US Visa to Leave China to Retrieve Their Son 's Body

Senator Asks Beijing Embassy Fast-Track Whatever Travel Documents and Visas Are Necessary to Ensure Parents Can Come to NYC As Soon As Possible

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer made a direct appeal to the State Department asking it to immediately give the grieving parents of Minghui Yu, the slain Columbia PhD student killed on Friday, permission to travel to New York City to claim the body of their son. Minghui Yu was killed Friday after he was struck by a Jeep as he tried to flee two attackers. An arrest has been made in the case, but, as of Monday, the parents of the Yu had not been approved to leave their home in Shandong province and travel to the United States. Schumer today urged that the State Department work with their Chinese counterparts to approve whatever documents and visas may be necessary to ensure Yu’s parents can come to New York and return home as soon as possible. Yu’s parents have already received their Chinese passports and are now just waiting for U.S. approval.

 

“These parents have already suffered such a great loss and do not deserve to now be caught in a bureaucratic morass,” Schumer said. “We need all hands on deck to make sure Minghui Yu’s parents are treated respectfully and fairly during this difficult time. Minghui Yu was part of the New York community and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends today.”

 

According to news reports, on Friday two teens accosted Yu as he walked south on Broadway from his girlfriend's apartment to his apartment in the Morningside Heights neighborhood, just before 9 p.m. Yu had just crossed from the northeast corner of West 122nd Street to the median when one of the teens punched him. Yu fought back, managed to break free and dashed across Broadway's southbound lanes, where a Jeep Cherokee struck him. The driver of the vehicle has not been charged.

 

Yu, who came to the United States in 2006, studied statistics and was a department chair of the Columbia University Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

 

Schumer said that Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, faculty and local community groups are trying to help the Yu family obtain the necessary paperwork and approvals to leave China and travel to New York City. Schumer today called on the U.S. government to fast-track those approvals given the tragic circumstances.

 

“It is the least we can do to help this family and the entire Columbia University family begin to recover,” Schumer added.

 

Schumer today wrote to Michael Regan, Consul General to the Beijing Embassy, asking him to personally intervene on the Yu family’s behalf.

 

Last year, Schumer helped secure travel permission for Mamadou Soumare, the father of victims of a tragic fire in the Bronx, to travel to and from Mali to bury his loved ones. Schumer worked closely with immigration officials at both Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reopen Soumare’s long pending asylum case. Soumare was now be granted “advance parole” the document he needs to travel to and from Mali, West Africa.

 

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