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ICE detention complicates couple's marriage plans

An East Coast couple had a storybook romance. The woman got a flat tire and the knight in shining armor who repaired the car became her fiancée after a romance. The couple made their wedding plans and two years after meeting were on the doorstep of being husband and wife.

One week before the scheduled wedding day, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement converged on the auto shop where the man worked. He had originally entered the country legally, but his 90-day visa waiver expired in 2003. The man did not have any kind of family visa or employment visa. He was detained recently after ICE detained him at the auto shop, and he is now facing potential deportation.

A major difficulty is that if the man is actually deported, he may not be able to return to the United States for a decade. His fiancée, a U.S. citizen, may not be able to see him again if he is removed from the country. It is unlikely she would be able to afford to visit him in his native Uruguay on her salary as a nursing aide.

The Uruguay native entered the country on a 90-day visa waiver to look for a job after his father died. Unfortunately, the visa program that enabled the immigrant to enter the country not only waives the traveler's need for a visa, but also waives the traveler's right to judicial review should the traveler overstay the 90-day visa.

The couple is vigorously fighting the potential deportation and is also looking into a way to fulfill their plans to marry. The man detained in an immigration facility has made a request for the government to allow the couple to marry, a request that is reportedly under review.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Couple's wedding plans thwarted by deportation limbo," Julia Terruso, 9 October 2011

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