posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 12:30 PM
This is my first post on ATS, though I am a long-term reader.
One of the major issues which bother me about the immigration "debate" is that the real issue is ignored. There is so much anger and focus on the
latino-based immigration, we as citizens tend to look over the fact that the immigration system itself is truly broken.
The "real" issue to me is comprehensive immigration reform which not only secures our borders, but also creates a method to legitimately immigrate
to America which does not take numerous years.
I have a very close understanding of immigration law. I am an attorney. I am also married to an illegal immigrant. Yep....you heard right. My wife
I was never very well versed in immigration law, as it is a very specific type of law; however, after my wife and I were married, I began asking my
wife's mother for my wife's immigration papers. You see, my wife was dragged here by her mother from The Ukraine when my wife was about 14 years
old. Her mother hired an attorney to finalize her paperwork....a really crappy attorney out of Atlanta. To make a long story short, her mother
thought the attorney was filing paperwork to adjust her status to allow her to stay in America, but the attorney never filed anything. The mother's
Visa expired. Her mother was never informed because the government sent information to the attorney. My wife grew up....
My wife, finished high school in the states, got a license, worked, paid taxes.....and met me....and we married.
So....as it happens, I am in the reserves....the military reserves, and to finalize paperwork with my security clearance, I was asked to provide my
wife's immigration papers. I asked my wife, who indicated her mother had them. I asked the mother, who indicated that the attorney was "taking
care of the papers." I asked the attorney.....and found out that the Visa had expired. Not only that, but an arrest warrant had been issued for my
wife's mother for not going to a hearing....which she was never sent notice for........Oh....and by the way......an arrest warrant was issued for my
wife, who was at the time of the warrant, 15.
So I contacted immigration....like a good attorney, soldier, and citizen. What did I need to do to correct my wife's papers and allow her to legally
stay? I figured I would find out and correct the papers the right way.
The immigration department attorney gave me a form to fill out, told me to pay a fee, and asked for me to get a picture ID for my wife to start the
process. Being military, this was easy, because spouses are allowed to have military spousal cards regardless of citizenship (due to numerous
military overseas marriages).
Well, as it happened, I got the spousal ID, and ICE showed up the next morning and arrested my wife. She spent 5 weeks in jail. I had to get a U.S.
Congressman to contact ICE and ask her to be released into my custody. She was.
We then filled the form out, paid several hundred dollars, and tried to adjust my wife's status to stay in the U.S.; however, we got a response at
that point telling us that....wait for it......because my wife's mother had overstayed her Visa (no fault of my wife as she was a minor), the mother
AND my wife were barred from adjusting status in the United States. They told us that my wife would have to go back to The Ukraine, apply to come in,
and wait for a new Visa. The problem with that, though, is that once you overstay a Visa, you are barred from applying for a Visa for 3 years to come
back. So my wife, due to no fault of her own, would have to go back to The Ukraine, wait 3 years, then apply for a Visa, which would then take about
a year and a half to get.
Now, my wife and I check in with the immigration department once a month via telephone and once every 6 months in person. My wife can no longer work.
She no longer pays taxes, and we are forced to constantly live under the cloud of her imminent departure.