As Romney told CNN at the time, he appreciated the need to apply the same rules to everybody. “But now and then,” he said, “when a group of kids come together and say this is different. Please all you people at the top of the pyramid of the public service world, will you stop and look at this? This is different. It doesn’t fit the rule.”
Romney wrote a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff — now an adviser to his presidential campaign — saying, ”I have heard from scores of Mr. Attouoman’s students who are concerned that the loss of their teacher in the middle of this school year will not only impact their education, but also will take from our community a man who has been willing to mentor young men who lack a prominent role model in their lives.”
Attouoman, who had already spent months in jail as he fought the deportation order, was granted an 11th-hour reprieve that allowed him to stay while his request for residency was considered.