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Bush Signs Law for Reagan’s Daughter

July 19, 2001 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush has signed into law a special measure that gives Maureen Reagan’s adopted daughter _ a 16-year-old girl from Uganda _ permanent residency in the United States.

The measure, a private bill sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, also classifies Rita Mirembe Revell as Ms. Reagan’s ``immediate relative child.″ Bush signed the bill Tuesday.

Maureen Reagan, the eldest daughter of former President Reagan, is undergoing radiation treatments for melanoma that has spread to her brain.

Dennis Revell, Reagan’s husband of 20 years, said the family is planning to celebrate.

``Rita is so excited because, like so many adopted children, her one wish was to have a family,″ he said Wednesday. ``Now, she not only has a family, she has a whole country. But also, she knows this news is the best medicine her mother could have received right now.″

It was unclear what the girl’s residency status was before the law being passed. The status of permanent resident allows a person most of the rights of citizenship, excluding the right to vote.

Reagan and Revell have said little about how they came to adopt the girl in 1995.

Reagan, 60, is receiving whole brain radiation at Mercy San Juan Hospital in Carmichael, near the family’s Northern California home.

Last November, a golf ball-sized malignant tumor was discovered in her right pubic bone and she underwent 3 1/2 months of aggressive chemotherapy treatments at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.

She appeared to be winning her cancer fight when she was released from the hospital March 23.

Reagan was stricken with mild seizures on the Fourth of July and an MRI performed July 6 confirmed two brain tumors, her husband said in a detailed statement.

But Revell says Reagan’s condition has taken an upswing.

``Maureen’s team of doctors expect to complete her course of whole brain radiation by this weekend, and we look forward to a celebration when we get home next week,″ he said.