SUCCESS: O’Halleran Caseworkers Help Get Luis Grijalva to Olympics

July 26, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) announced Luis Grijalva, a Northern Arizona University track and field athlete who qualified to compete in the men’s 5,000-meter race in the Olympics would be headed to Tokyo to compete after receiving assistance from caseworkers on O’Halleran’s staff.

“I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me pursue Olympic dreams,” said Grijalva following the announcement.

“I am so excited for Luis and his ability to compete in Tokyo. He is an inspirational person to many," said Jessica Smith Bobadilla, Grijalva's attorney. "I hope Congress can act soon to further protect the dreams of others like Luis. We thank Representative O'Halleran’s office for their continued effort to secure the travel document."

Grijalva, a 22-year-old originally from Guatemala, is a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient, and was named as a qualifier to travel to Tokyo in early July, falling short of the standard 90 days typically needed to apply and be approved for an advance parole waiver to leave and return to the U.S. as a DREAMer.

Following reports that Grijalva may not have the opportunity to travel to Tokyo because of his immigration status, caseworkers in the Office of Congressman O’Halleran began pressuring USCIS, calling and sending a letter to Acting Tucson Field Director Joby Eberly. Caseworkers on O’Halleran’s team helped successfully elevate the issue and secure the needed paperwork for Grijalva to travel to Tokyo.

“Young DREAMers are our neighbors, students, doctors, and teachers, and they deserve stability and access to the tools needed to pursue their dreams,” said O’Halleran. “I applaud the hard work of caseworkers on my staff to help advocate for Luis and secure the permissions need to get him to Tokyo to pursue his dreams.”

Men’s 5000-meter races begin Tuesday, August 3.