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UIS Pre-Law Center hosts discussion on bill to save war widow

October 12, 2005

SPRINGFIELD – The Pre-Law Center at the University of Illinois at Springfield will host its annual Fall Forum from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m., Tuesday, October 18, in conference room G, located in the lower level of the Public Affairs Center on the UIS campus. Lunch will be provided to participants. Advance registration is not necessary; the program is free and open to the public.

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UIS Pre-Law Center
Full Text of the Press Release from Senator Durbin's Office

This year’s forum will feature Christina Rogers and Bill Houlihan, aides to U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin, in a discussion titled “Illinois Lawmakers Push Bill to Save War Widow from Deportation.” In June of this year,  Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama introduced a private relief bill in the U.S. Senate to grant Kosovo native Diana Engstrom permanent resident status rather than allow her to be deported. Congressman Lane Evans introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Diana is the widow of Todd Engstrom of Athens, Illinois, who was killed in Fallujah in September 2004. Because Todd was in Iraq as a private contractor for the Army, training Iraqi security forces, his widow is not protected by laws that govern survivors of military casualties. Before leaving for Iraq, Todd sponsored his wife’s efforts to gain residency in the United States; however, since his death Diana has no sponsor. By law, she cannot now continue the process and so faces deportation.

“The spirit of the law clearly intends to protect people like Diana,” said Durbin. “But the circumstances of her case require Congress to intervene so that she may stay in the United States. That’s what we hope to do with this bill. It is the least we can do to repay the family of Todd Engstrom.”

The Pre-Law Center at UIS provides a central resource for students interested in learning about law school options and careers in the legal profession. Services include advice in structuring undergraduate programs to meet future career needs, preparing for LSAT exams, and developing application essays. For more information, contact either PLC Director Dennis Rendleman at 206-6324 or PLC Graduate Assistant Bukola Bello at 206-7826, or by e-mail at prelawcenter@uis.edu.


    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.