Artist Status Gets Smuggled Immigrant a Prison Release: 1996

Lu Zhong Wu was released from a Pennsylvania prison three years after being smuggled into the U.S.
2:07 | 07/03/13

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Transcript for Artist Status Gets Smuggled Immigrant a Prison Release: 1996
One man's Odyssey to the new world 500 years after the voyage of Columbus this man travel thirteen thousand miles to America. And he has now become the first man to be admitted on the basis of his cultural talent. It hasn't been easy he arrived three years ago on the golden venture that ill fated ship run by smugglers that was crammed with would be immigrants from China. And ran aground just off -- beach in New York City. Here's ABC's bill Blakemore. -- Jong woo say lawyers is the first person ever to be let out of prison in the US because he was judged to be an artist. In -- since I feel happy as a free bird he says who can fly high in the sky. Most of those captured from the ship are long since out of prison a few dozen sent back to China about 200 others freed on a variety of legal ground. Before he got out last week -- was one of 46 still in Pennsylvania's York prisons Seeking Asylum. Like all in this remaining group he'd been making Chinese paper sculptures as a way to gain publicity for their cause. They are painstakingly crafted from bits of magazines toilet paper threads from prison Powell's died with -- or -- choose. Experts from across the world -- so this is extraordinary. Not only what they've created on. On an objective level but how they've created it using simple materials and a prison. The lawyers say they were surprised when the Immigration and Naturalization Service agreed to reclassified -- As an alien of extraordinary ability whose art can enrich America's cultural life. The golden venture Chinese still in prison had been asking asylum on grounds of forced family planning in China. The lawyers say they'll now seek artist status for most of the others in York prison. They've accomplished some extraordinary things -- there are. And under the law of the United States this is grounds for them to be -- it. With the -- -- of the constantly changing US immigration law behind him who is now applying for a green card. He expects his new status as valued artist -- make it easy to get one. Once he hasn't he hopes to bring his wife and only child from trying to to start a new life in America. Bill Blakemore ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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