Though he qualifies for the DREAM Act, which gives immigrants who came to the United States as minors temporary residency, the measure would not give him the permanent status mandated by the university, according to his attorney.
And so began Chukwueke's journey to get legalized, a quest that has seen strangers rally to his help.
His attorney Thomas K. Ragland took his case pro bono.
"Victor's story is remarkable," said Ragland, who is based in Washington D.C. "He is this kid who comes from Nigeria, he was taunted and teased for his diseases, and he comes to this country and excels, despite so many surgeries. It is a testament of not letting anything get in the way."
Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, sponsored S. 285. The measure passed the Senate in the summer and the House last week
"Already, his example has enriched Michigan and our nation, but I know that his contributions to our country are only beginning," Levin said in a statement.
The number of illegal immigrants in the United States was estimated at 11.5 million last year.
If Obama signs the bill, the State Department will reduce by one the number of immigrant visas available to Nigerians.
That signature, Chukwueke says, will be his favorite holiday gift.