Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation Tuesday that would grant citizenship to a disabled Anaheim woman who suffers from illnesses that make it impossible for her to take the oath of allegiance.
The California Democrat urged Congress to take immediate action for 24-year-old Vijai Rajan, who was born in India into a family whose members have already been granted citizenship.
"Ms. Rajan has been left out of her family's American dream for no other reason" than disabilities, Feinstein said. "I urge my colleagues to act on this private legislation and to grant Ms. Rajan citizenship."
Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., also has submitted a bill to the House to make Rajan a citizen, saying the way the Immigration and Naturalization Service handled the case was "appalling."
Rajan suffers from cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, seizures and Crohn's disease, a severe intestinal ailment. She uses a wheelchair and receives 24-hour care. She cannot understand, recite or raise her hand to take the oath.
Born when her mother was visiting India, Rajan has lived in the United States since she was a baby and has a green card. Her father became a naturalized citizen in 1980, her mother in 1994. Her older sister was born in the United States.
Rajan's parents sought citizenship for their younger daughter in 1994 when she turned 18. Officials denied the application in 1998 and rejected an appeal the following year, citing "applicant's inability to comprehend the oath of allegiance due to medical certified condition," according to INS documents.
Her father, Sunder Rajan, filed a federal discrimination lawsuit in April seeking to force the INS to grant her citizenship.