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American Exiles

10 May 2007

Laura Fernandez’ One Step Closer probably won’t get picked up by the “A-list bloggers” in the U.S. who think any issue outside their purview is a “pet issue” not worthy of their notice. Since it isn’t a hot topic with their favored Democratic Party candidates, they just don’t care.

Well, I hope they don’t start asking the American who live abroad for campaign donations, or to donate to their “pet issues.” Laura, and the other Laura, and Gulf War Marine veteran José Luis Negrete are not looking at moving out of the United States for their pets. They are United States Citizens married (or became engaged to) people who overstayed their visa, or didn’t acquire a green card in time, or had other violations:

Most Americans take it for granted that if a foreigner marries a U.S. citizen, that person will likely be welcomed with legal residency. This hasn’t been true since 2001, when federal statutes adopted in 1996 began kicking in.

Now, if a U.S. citizen or legal resident wants to sponsor a spouse or other close relative for legal residency, the process could end up banishing the sponsored relative.

To seek a green card, or legal residency, foreign relatives who entered the United States without permission must return to their home country to submit to an interview at a U.S. consulate.

Then, they must disclose if they spent any time in this country without proper documentation.

Penalties are steep. Undocumented immigrants who lived in the U.S. for one year before marrying are barred from re-entry for 10 years. Those who spent between 6 months and a year here illegally are barred from returning to the U.S. for five years.

We’re talking about spouses and children of American citizens, not cats and dogs. For people like Laura and Laura and José Luis… this means either a long separation, or leaving the country of their birth — not by choice, but exiled.

The “A-listers” like to complain that much of the writing from us peasants in the boondocks, those of us who see or write about these issues daily, is “speculative and anecdotal”

No speculation about it. And, yeah, but the anecdotes have a hell of a lot more to do with the reality of immigration policy than some polling data on how some politician’s image on immigration plays in opinion polls.

Article 15

  1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.
  2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16

  1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

The Universal Charter of Human Rights is not a “pet issue”

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