Saturday, September 19, 2009

By GI Korea on September 18th, 2009 at at 5:19 pm

Marine Widow Hotaru Ferschke Faces Deportation

This story has long been followed here on the ROK Drop and though I’m not surprised, incredibly the immigration department has yet to fix her immigration status:

Hotaru Ferschke just wants to raise her 8-month-old son in his grandparents’ Tennessee home, surrounded by photos and memories of the father he’ll never meet: a Marine who died in combat a month after marrying her from thousands of miles away.

Sgt. Michael Ferschke was killed in Iraq in 2008, leaving his widow and infant son, both Japanese citizens, in immigration limbo: A 1950s legal standard meant to curb marriage fraud means U.S. authorities do not recognize the marriage, even though the military does.

Ferschke and his bride had been together in Japan for more than a year, and she was pregnant when he deployed. They married by signing their names on separate continents and did not have a chance to meet again in person after the wedding, which a 57-year-old immigration law requires for the union to be considered consummated.

“She is being denied because they are saying her marriage is not valid because it was not consummated — despite the fact that they have a child together,” said Brent Renison, an immigration lawyer in Oregon who has advised the family.

Hotaru Ferschke and the baby, Michael “Mikey” Ferschke III, are staying for now on a temporary visa at the home of her parents-in-law, in the Smoky Mountains town of Maryville. Robin and Michael Ferschke Sr., who are fighting for their daughter-in-law to stay, have emblazoned their son’s picture on everything from a blanket draped on the back of the couch to a waving banner on the fence outside. [Associated Press]

I can tell you from personal experience that the US Citizenship & Immigration Services doesn’t give a damn if you are in the military or not. They will treat you like crap like they do everyone else. It took me five years of nonsense with these people for various reasons mainly due to my continuous military re-locations, to get my wife her permanent residency card. In that whole time I interacted with USCIS only one guy in that entire bureaucracy was really helpful to us and did a lot to finally solve the immigration nonsense. If it wasn’t for that guy who just happened to be a retired Air Force E-8 my wife and I would have been separated due to my PCS back to the US.

So I can definitely understand the frustration that Hotaru is going through with these people. Hopefully the continuous publicity to this case will get these people to do something to help her out.

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