Supervisor: Don’t deport good Samaritan’s widow

The widow of a good Samaritan killed while trying to rescue two children at Ocean Beach on Mother’s Day has a strong ally in her fight against deportation.

San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano said Monday he would introduce a resolution at today's Board of Supervisors meeting calling on Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant Jacqueline Coats citizenship.

Marlin Coats, 29, was at Ocean Beach on May 14 when he heard two boys screaming from the surf. He rushed in to rescue them, but was caught in a rip current and drowned. Now Jacqueline Coats, who arrived on a student visa from Kenya in August 2001, faces deportation.

“The INS really needs to show that it has a heart,” Ammiano said Monday. “This man laid down his life, and I think his wife should be granted citizenship.”

Though the resolution would carry no legal influence over the activity of the immigration department, Ammiano called it a “humanitarian gesture.”

According to her lawyer, Thip Ark, Jacqueline Coats fell out of student status while at San Jose State University in 2003 because she wasn't taking enough units. Removal proceedings started against her earlier this year, but Ark said she planned to tell the judge at an Aug. 3 immigration hearing that she married a U.S. citizen who had petitioned for her to become a permanent resident.

amartin@examiner.com

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