Community Fights Doctor's Deportation

Friday, November 16, UPDATED: 6:01 p.m.
By Norm Jones

In just seven days, a long-time central Pennsylvania doctor and his wife may be deported back to the Philippines.

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Dr. Pedro Servano and his wife, Salvacion, do paper work as they await their deportation.

Dr. Pedro Servano and his wife, Salvacion, got the notice last month that they'd have to report to homeland security officers.

At the end of their ropes, they are pleading with federal lawmakers to stay here in the U.S.

Dr. and Mrs. Servano have been living in the United States for nearly 25 years, more than ten of them spent in the Selinsgrove area.

"We've been here for the last 24 years. We have paid our taxes, our dues and obligations. We raised four loving kids. All of them are doing excellent in school," said Dr. Servano. "(It's) an honest mistake. It was not intended to circumvent any kind of law."

The Servanos appear to be at the end of a 17-year immigration battle, one that started over what the Servanos call an honest mistake.

When they filed for visas in 1978 they weren't married, but by the time they were granted those visas in 1982 and 1984, they had wed and didn't mark the marital change on citizenship documents.

"This mistake should pale, pale in comparison to 24 years of community service and good, Christian family values and kids that are performing in school and model examples of what good American education should put out," said Christina DeHaven, the Servanos' niece. She and others are working with federal lawmakers to get a special reprieve for the doctor and his wife. "Time is of the essence. We're putting this into the hands of Congress with such a short window of time. We need to do everything we can to push the issue."

Community leaders are also speaking out in support of the Servanos.

"And our whole parish is enraged. You know they really are. Here's an outstanding family. A good portion of our parishioners are treated by Dr. Servano," said Father Ted Keating of St. Pius X Catholic Church. He added the Servanos have been model parishioners at the church in Selinsgrove for at least five years.

For 12 years. Dr. Servano has practiced medicine for the Geisinger Health System, providing care for at least 2,000 patients and their families.

Sunbury's mayor said the Servanos are also helping to revitalize Sunbury.
They renovated the old YMCA into office space. They even run an ethnic food store just down the block.

"They're an important piece of this community. I think they have great community support here. They have been productive people, while they're not citizens of Sunbury. They're investors in the city of Sunbury and are helping us with the revitalization of the city," said Sunbury Mayor Jesse Woodring.

The community leaders said it's time for federal immigration officials take a hard look at their policies.

"And I think we need to have some sort of openness or allowances for a little mistake that happened years ago," Fr. Keating said.

A spokesperson for U.S. Senator Arlen Specter said the senator is working with immigration officials in Washington D.C.

The Servanos are scheduled to report to immigration officials the day after Thanksgiving.