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Deportation Reprieve

A Congolese woman facing deportation returned home to a cheering crowd of hundreds at her suburban Milwaukee church Tuesday afternoon.

Regina Bakala got an unusual last minute reprieve from deportation and was released from federal custody earlier Tuesday in Broadview, Illinois. She was reunited with her husband and two young children.

Bakala wept as children from the St. Mary church school cheered
her return and held welcome signs.

Bakala applied for asylum in 1995. An immigration judge denied
her request two years later. Because her attorney had moved, Bakala
never received notice that her appeals had been denied. Federal
agents took her into custody in March.

She contends she should not be sent back to Congo because her
past activity on behalf of democracy there would make her subject
to attack.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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