Immigration officials helped raise more than $2,500 at a special Christmas season church service, money needed to bury a 10-year-old leukemia victim who was granted his dying wish of receiving legal U.S. residency just hours before his death.
Arturo Medina, who came to America with his parents as an infant but feared being sent back to his native Mexico under the United States' new immigration laws, died Friday, four hours after receiving his residency card.
"Arturo struggled for seven years of his life. He almost beat it a year ago. I just knew I had to do something for him," said Harold Ezell, the Immigration and Naturalization Service's western regional commissioner.
Ezell helped spearhead the effort to raise money for Arturo's funeral and burial costs and also to provide some extra Christmas money for his poor family, who moved to Los Angeles from Bakersfield recently to be near Childrens Hospital. Ezell helped arrange for the Sunday service at Harbor Christian Center in Wilmington, where his brother, Don, serves as pastor to the predominantly Latino congregation.