Sen. Akaka tries to head off deportation of restaurateur
What ever happened to Chai's Island Bistro's owner Chai Chaowasaree, the Thai chef who was facing deportation for what the Immigration and Naturalization Service ruled was a sham marriage to a U.S. citizen?
Answer: Chai Chaowasaree, who moved to Hawaii in 1985 and got married a year later, continues to run Island Bistro at Aloha Market Place and Singha Thai Cuisine in Waikiki.
His deportation case has been on hold since 2001 pending a private immigration-relief bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka to allow Chaowasaree to stay in the country.
Chaowasaree's problems began in 1991 when the INS denied his petition to become a permanent U.S. resident, ruling that his 1986 marriage to Victoria Dubray was a sham designed to circumvent immigration laws.
Chaowasaree appealed that decision, but the immigration service argues he abandoned the challenge when he returned to Thailand in 2000 to visit his ailing father. Chaowasaree has maintained he got the approval of an immigration official to make the trip. He said he is still married to Dubray.
Akaka's bill, S 68, was reintroduced in January 2007 and is now pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee, said his spokesman, Jon Yoshimura. A hearing on the measure has not yet been scheduled.
"The senator believes that the chef should be allowed to stay in the U.S. He has been a contributing member of our Hawaii community, and he'd like to help him," Yoshimura said.
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