Monday, March 24, 2008

Marriage is no longer enough for U.S. residency

The running story on immigration (for many families) has long been if you are undocumented and marry an American citizen you will be able to regularize your status (see post "Hugo and his famous restaurant," December 22, 2008). It is expensive, and takes a few years, but has always been a way to become a permanent U.S. resident.

This is all changing, it has been reported that undocumented people married to U.S. citizens have been detained when they visit ICE offices for interviews regarding their applications. A couple in Kansas are finding out that the wife's citizenship isn't enough to keep her husband in the U.S. Some might say this is a good thing for all the people who only marry for immigration papers. Yet there are many, many more who marry for reasons we all do; they have children; and make permanent homes for themselves.

The one thing that is constantly being ignored is that the current problem depicted in the article below emanates from extremely harsh immigration laws passed in 1996 during the Clinton administration. Since Hillary says she was involved in so much of the administration during Bill's tenure - she should be able to take responsibility for this one too -- I wonder why hasn't come up on the campaign trail.

March 22, 2008, 10:46PM
Immigration laws split mixed-legal-status families
Husband goes back to Mexico to begin legal effort to re-enter the U.S.

Associated Press

OVERLAND PARK, KAN. — When Kecia Sales and Juan Marquez were married, they were like scores of other couples: very much in love with plans to live together for the rest of their lives.

But it wasn't to be.

After their December 2004 marriage, he told her he had been living illegally in the U.S. since 1999. After leaving Mexico, Marquez had made his way to her hometown of Kansas City, Kan., where they met and married, and she took his name.

They became one of an estimated 2 million mixed families, where at least one member is a citizen or lawfully living in the country and the other isn't. The vast majority of those families, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, involve an illegal parent and legal children — yet another shade of this country's ongoing immigration conundrum.

That he's among 12 million illegal immigrants didn't change Sales' love for Marquez. They lived in her hometown and both worked to make ends meet.

"It didn't bother me," she said. "It doesn't make him any worse of a person."

But Marquez, 26, and his wife, 40, finally decided he should return to Mexico and begin the long, uphill fight to re-enter the country legally...

Waiver request denied

...[B]ecause Juan Marquez entered the country illegally and stayed more than a year, the law bars him from coming back for 10 years, unless the government approves a waiver request from his wife. She said the waiver request was denied March 13 by the U.S. Consulate in Juarez, Mexico, but it agreed to give Kecia Marquez 30 days to submit new evidence of hardship. Then it could take up to a year for a decision about whether he can return...

for link to complete AP/Houston Chronicle article click the title of this post

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