Yesterday this blog began a discussion of the so-called widow penalty under pre-2009 U.S. immigration law. The discussion was more theoretical in nature. Today the story continues with a discussion of two real-life applications of the law. Foreign nationals who may have suffered under the widow penalty in immigration law have until October 28, 2011 to petition for permanent residency. Florida immigration attorneys are aware that new petitioners will likely move more quickly than the two example cases that follow.
A Japanese woman met a U.S. citizen while studying in the United States in 2004. The U.S. citizen was an Iraq war veteran. The couple fell in love and moved to Japan when the woman's college program ended. The couple married in Japan in 2005 and had a baby. The family moved to the United States in January 2006. However, the woman was required to return to Japan with the couple's child. She was still in the early stages of seeking U.S. permanent residency.
The husband worked as an Army recruiter in the U.S while the wife and child remained in Japan. The man was found dead in the Ohio River. The death remains mysterious. The man's parents, who reside in Florida, attempted to step in to replace their war veteran son as sponsors of the Japanese woman. The effort failed and the woman's application for permanent residency was denied because the couple had not been married for two years before the husband's mysterious death.
The woman recently was allowed to immigrate to the United States in light of the repeal of the widow penalty. She now lives in Florida and hopes to become a schoolteacher.
A separate case arose with the rejection of a residency application of a married Mexican immigrant in 2003. The woman entered the United States legally in 2001. In April of that year she married a U.S. citizen. Then came a tragic accident in an intersection in Denver. A drunk driver struck the husband as he crossed the street. The accident proved to be fatal for the man.
In May 2003, immigration officials rejected her application for permanent residency as she was not the spouse of a citizen. The woman was ordered to leave the country. She remained I the U.S. until she was caught up in an immigration raid in February 2009. Immigration officials deported the woman the following month.
The case has gone through legal wrangling since that time and customs officials have allowed her to return to the United States. The woman has filed her petition for permanent residency and hopes to run a cleaning company if her application is approved.
Source: AP, '"'Widow penalty' victims finally allowed back in US," David Crary 15 Jul 2011