Sunday, December 05, 2010

Bill on December 3rd, 2010

United States Senate passes private bill for Hotaru Ferschke

This is fantastic news.

On a unanimous consent vote, the U.S. Senate late this afternoon passed a bill honoring the late U.S. Marine Sgt. Michael Ferschke of Maryville – and granting permanent residency to his Japanese wife, Hotaru Ferschke.

The private bill, addressing narrowly the Ferschke family’s situation, still must be approved by the U.S. House.

Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Jim Webb, R-W.Va., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., introduced the private bill last year. It must now be considered by the House of Representatives.

“The very least the country Michael Ferschke died serving can do is honor Michael’s last wish – that his wife be allowed to raise their son near their family in Tennessee,” Alexander said in a statement.


Hota Ferschke was pregnant at the time they wed, and she and Sgt. Ferschke had agreed to raise their son in Tennessee. But she can’t move to the U.S. because their marriage is not recognized under a Cold War-era immigration law.

The current law dictates that marriage between an American citizen and a foreign national must be consummated after the wedding before the non-American can gain permanent residency status. The measure was enacted to stop foreigners from entering into sham marriages so they can gain permanent U.S. residency.

A bill before Congress would close the immigration law loophole by writing in an exemption for couples who are unable to consummate their marriage because one of them was on active duty in the armed forces.

That bill, called “the Marine Sgt. Michael H. Ferschke Jr. Memorial Act,” cleared the U.S. House last month with support from Democrats and Republicans. Supporters were hoping to push the measure quickly through the U.S. Senate as well, but objections from key senators – including Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee – slowed it down.

Opponents felt the broader bill would remove immigration safeguards.

The substitute private bill passed today would narrowly only affect the Ferschkes, and supporters are hoping for a quick consent vote in the House.- Knoxville News Sentinel

The House passed the original bill unanimously. So I think they will do the same with the private bill. President Obama would also have to sign it into law. I don’t get why Senators objected to the original bill, it only applied to spouses whose husbands died in Action. In any case like that, we should honor the fallen soldier’s family.

I’ll take this however and I’m sure the Ferschkes feel the same. You’re coming to America Hotaru Ferschke. God bless you and Mikey.

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