2007_03_soumare2.jpgMamadou Somare, the Malian immigrant cab driver whose wife and four children were killed after last week's devastating Bronx fire, will be able to bury his family in Mali and return to the U.S. Soumare's status was unclear: Though an illegal immigrant, he had applied for asylum many years ago; earlier reports suggested he either missed a court date or did not file the necessary paperwork.

Many politicians, including Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Hillary Clinton, Representative José E. Serrano, and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., tried to help with the red tape. Soumare was given "advance parole," which allows illegal immigrants to travel between the U.S. and other countries because their immigration applications are "pending."

An immigration said he was "happy" the agency could grant him the advance parole. Not surprisingly, the Times notes that both Schumer and Serrano "each took credit in separate news releases for securing the authorization for Mr. Soumare’s travels."

It's not clear when Soumare will leave for Mali. AirFrance has offered to fly the bodies to Mali. When Soumare returns to Mali, he will see three children he and his late wife left behind. Two of the children have heart ailments, and they hope they will be able to get visas to come to the U.S. for treatment.

Photograph of Mamadou Soumare (left) by Jason DeCrow/AP