March 15, 2022 By Allie Griffin
A Chinese man whose mother died last month after she was brutally assaulted on a North Corona street has secured a visa to the U.S. that will allow him to attend his mom’s funeral.
Congress Members Grace Meng and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez both worked on the behalf of Yang Gao, the only son of the late GuiYing Ma, to help him gain entry to the country.
Ma, 62, died from severe head injuries on Feb. 22, three months after being viciously beaten by a man outside her home. Elisaul Perez, 33, of Brooklyn, allegedly struck her with a large rock in the face and head on the morning of Nov. 26.
Ma — who immigrated to New York four years ago from Liaoning, China — was placed in a medically induced coma at Elmhurst Hospital after the attack. She came out of her coma in early February before dying in the hospital just weeks later.
Gao’s visa application was approved Monday after Meng and Ocasio-Cortez intervened with the U.S. State Department to accelerate the process. He needed a visa to come to the U.S. to attend his mother’s funeral, which is scheduled for March 26.
“We thank the U.S. State Department for working with us and facilitating her son’s visa so that he can be with his father at this difficult time, and provide the emotional and physical support that is needed,” Meng said in a statement. “Unfortunately, there are no words that can ease the pain they are experiencing. But we will continue to be here for them, and assist with any other needs that may arise.”
Ma is survived by her son, husband and two grandchildren.
Her alleged attacker, Perez, was arrested at the scene and charged with felony assault and harassment. Officials said the charges are likely to be upgraded now that Ma has died.
Ma was the fourth Asian American to die from a violent assault in New York City in recent months. Yao Pan Ma, Michelle Go and Christina Yuna Lee were all killed in violent attacks, sending shock waves and fear through the Asian American Pacific Islander community in New York.
Only the death of Yao Pan Ma has been ruled a hate crime.