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Legal, Permanent - And Alone (The Feds Stuck On Stupid Anti-Family Policy Alert)
Townhall.com ^ | 04/13/06 | Jeff Jacoby

Posted on 04/12/2006 10:36:09 PM PDT by goldstategop

When Sumathi Athuluri met the man she was destined to marry, it was love at first sight. She sensed at once that Jeevan Kumar, a young physician working on a World Health Organization project to eradicate polio in India, was someone special. And the more she learned about his lifestyle and values, she was telling me the other day by phone from Salem, Mass., where she now lives, "the more I felt he was the man I was looking for."

Jeevan was equally taken with Sumathi, a software engineer from Hyderabad who had moved to the United States on an H-1B work visa in 1999 and had become a legal permanent resident -- the holder of a green card -- in February 2002. The couple was married in India in August 2002, and for the first three months of their marriage they were virtually inseparable.

But green-card holders are not permitted to remain abroad indefinitely, and when the time came for Sumathi to return to the United States, she was a wreck. "It was so painful to leave him," she says. "I was crying in the plane all the way to the US."

Hoping to be quickly reunited with her husband, Sumathi filed a Form I-130, an application for an immigrant visa that would allow Jeevan to enter the United States. That was when she ran headlong into what has been called the most anti-family, anti-marriage, anti-immigrant aspect of American law: the prolonged and pointless separation of legal permanent residents from their spouses and children.

Sumathi's I-130 application for Jeevan was submitted more than three years ago; unless the law changes, it is likely to take at least two more years before his immigrant visa is finally approved. In the meantime, he is barred from entering the United States to visit his wife, even briefly. Because Sumathi has a green card -- because she is here lawfully and will soon be eligible for US citizenship -- her husband cannot get even a tourist visa to come see her.

Crazy? Yes, and it gets worse: If Sumathi had first gotten married and then applied for her green card, her husband would have been able to move here right away. Same thing if she had been here on a student visa, or had simply made no change in her status as the holder of a work visa. But becoming a legal permanent resident meant that anyone she subsequently married (and any child she gave birth to) outside the United States would have to languish on a waiting list for five or more years before being allowed to enter the country.

No policy aim is advanced by separating legal immigrants from their spouses and children -- especially when the only immigrants affected are those who have proclaimed their commitment to this country by becoming permanent residents. Congress didn't set out deliberately to put Sumathi and Jeevan and others like them through emotional torment. But by holding down the annual number of immigrant visas available to the spouses and kids of green-card holders, it unwittingly created a giant backlog.

Happily, the problem can be solved: Congress has only to remove the annual quota on visas for immediate relatives of legal permanent residents, thereby clearing up the backlog and eliminating the long wait. Legislation introduced by Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska would make that change. An alternative solution, offered by Representative Robert Andrews of New Jersey, would allow the spouse and minor children of green-card holders to enter the United States on a special "V visa," and to live here while waiting for their immigration petitions to be approved.

Unlike the illegal immigrants who have been raising such a ruckus across the country in recent days, green-card holders like Sumathi broke no laws to get here. Most of them are highly skilled professionals who eventually become US citizens, enriching their adopted country in the time-honored immigrant manner.

"I came here legally," says Sumathi, who develops speech recognition software for use in health care settings. "I'm making a contribution. I pay my taxes. I've never been a burden to the government. My husband is a doctor whose work on polio is saving lives. Why must we be separated like this?" She observes tartly that the United States lectures other countries about the importance of marriage and family. Yet "US immigration law is destroying my family life. I live alone, eat alone, sleep alone, cry alone, and suffer alone. . . . The only thing that keeps me going is my husband's photograph sitting next to me."

It is no virtue to split husbands from wives, or parents from young children. What is being done to immigrants like Sumathi Athuluri is both unjust and unwise. Above all, it is unworthy of a nation built by immigrants.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: family; ice; jeffjacoby; legalimmigration; stuckonstupid; townhall
At the same time our politicians propose amnesty for illegal aliens, they punish law-abiding legal immigrations by breaking up families. Call it the Feds Stuck On Stupid anti-family policy. Its unworthy of a great nation and unjust to those who play by the rules to become American citizens.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

1 posted on 04/12/2006 10:36:12 PM PDT by goldstategop
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To: goldstategop
immigrations = immigrants

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

2 posted on 04/12/2006 10:36:45 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop
But green-card holders are not permitted to remain abroad indefinitely,

BS alert!!!

Resident Aliens can stay out of the US as long as they need to, as long as they let BCIS know and obtain a reentry permit.

3 posted on 04/12/2006 10:39:02 PM PDT by Marine Inspector (Government is not the solution to our problem; Government is the problem)
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To: goldstategop

First off, she's not a US Citizen and she can stay in India with her husband as long as she wishes.


4 posted on 04/12/2006 10:40:26 PM PDT by Marine Inspector (Government is not the solution to our problem; Government is the problem)
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To: Marine Inspector
If you're an illegal, you can come back any time you want, no permit needed. Don't ask why our immigration system is screwed up as it is that law-abiding people get put on hold for years.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

5 posted on 04/12/2006 10:41:01 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

I met a man last weekend who came here from Nigeria who is following the rules to establish citizenship and his wife cannot come here until he is sworn in. Makes no sense to me.


6 posted on 04/12/2006 10:47:19 PM PDT by misterrob (Teach a Liberal to think for himself and he'll vote Conservative for the rest of his life.)
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To: goldstategop

I know exactly why are legal immigration system is the way it is and comparing our legal system to criminals aliens is BS.


7 posted on 04/12/2006 10:47:27 PM PDT by Marine Inspector (Government is not the solution to our problem; Government is the problem)
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To: goldstategop

Actually, the "family reunification" aspect of immigration law should be ended. It is what allows these folks to multiply and multiply, because they sponsor their cousins, mothers, brothers, etc.

This case happens to be a terrible situation. Nevertheless, I really think "family reunification" aka chain migration has caused more problems than it has resolved.


8 posted on 04/12/2006 10:56:35 PM PDT by Clemenza (Bayonne L.A.M.F.)
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To: Clemenza
In my opinion, family reunification should be restricted to immediate family only, such as a husband or wife and their children. They shouldn't be allowed to bring every conceivable relative into this country. We need compassion but we need compassion with clear limits.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

9 posted on 04/12/2006 11:00:22 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

I agree. Kids and spouses only. Unfortunatly, the Catholic and other Churches will raise a stink about it.


10 posted on 04/12/2006 11:01:16 PM PDT by Clemenza (Bayonne L.A.M.F.)
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To: Marine Inspector; OldFriend

Meanwhile, she and her hubby could meet up in Canada for acouple weeks vacation.


11 posted on 04/12/2006 11:14:42 PM PDT by holyscroller (A wise man's heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man's heart directs him to the left)
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To: Marine Inspector
I second the BS alert. My wife is a Green Card holder, and we have been stationed in Japan for the last three years.

Also, citizenship does not necessarily have to follow a green card. You do not have to become a citizen so long as you are here legally. We intend to move back to Japan after I retire, so there's no need to screw up her real citizenship.

12 posted on 04/12/2006 11:18:55 PM PDT by Alien Gunfighter (Secular Misanthropist)
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To: goldstategop

Someone mentioned a situation that was interesting. A boy is brought from another country at (no, not Mexico, or South America) illegally. It is on his parents, of course. They have a false birth cert. for him and everything. This was back in the '50s. He grows up, works,pays taxes, marries an American, has children. Perhaps later finds out his situation. A few months ago he finds out he has lung cancer and moving back to his country would be hard on his health. I am not for amnesty at all. This was a situation someone on another board is going through with her spouse. How should something like this be addressed?


13 posted on 04/12/2006 11:27:17 PM PDT by HungarianGypsy
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To: HungarianGypsy

Then he's eligable under the previous amnesty to stay in this country.


14 posted on 04/13/2006 12:13:53 AM PDT by Brellium
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To: goldstategop
"Call it the Feds Stuck On Stupid anti-family policy. Its unworthy of a great nation and unjust to those who play by the rules to become American citizens."

Horse manure. If she wants to be with her husband, she "could" have stayed back in India with him. She is NOT a citizen--she's a "green card holder".

WHY is it automatically assumed that relatives should be allowed into the US??

15 posted on 04/13/2006 3:49:55 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel)
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To: goldstategop
. . . her husband cannot get even a tourist visa to come see her.

Meanwhile, back in the Senate, "Lefty" McCain, his buddy "Killer" Kennedy, and their sock washer "Pancho" Mel Martinez, are working on bills that allow criminals to spit on our national sovereignty and ignore our laws and walk into our country and be welcomed as (conquering) heroes!!

Oh, the humanity!!!

When I wake up from this nightmare, I hope someone can explain in cogent terms why government is supposed to be the answer to everything. I'm just not seeing it.
16 posted on 04/13/2006 4:12:53 AM PDT by DustyMoment (FloriDUH - proud inventors of pregnant/hanging chads and judicide!!)
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To: goldstategop
It's hard not to sink into despair when something as basic, simple and manageable as immigration becomes so bass-ackwards and FUBAR'd at the hands of our government.

God help us.

17 posted on 04/13/2006 4:38:50 AM PDT by manwiththehands ("Rule of law"? We don't need no stinkin' rule of law! We want amnesty, muchacho!)
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To: Alien Gunfighter
Approximately 50% of resident aliens never become citizens, for the reasons you pointed out.
18 posted on 04/13/2006 8:57:17 AM PDT by Marine Inspector (Government is not the solution to our problem; Government is the problem)
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To: goldstategop; misterrob

Think about this law for a sec--the issue is that if we let in husbands after we let in wives, or vice versa, that'll create a black market immigrant spouse game. It'll also make far more likely that the married couple will create an anchor baby.

No, I'd much rather the "screwed-up" system STAY "screwed up" as it is. In fact, I'd prefer that American citizens and green card holders who marry non-citizens outside the country be made to remain with their spouses while waiting for a visa. It would quickly remove a large incentive for Americans to get into these visa marriages.


19 posted on 04/13/2006 3:44:00 PM PDT by LibertarianInExile ('Is' and 'amnesty' both have clear, plain meanings. Are Billy Jeff and the President related?)
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To: Marine Inspector

Re-entry permit is only for 2 years. Than you have to come back and suffer. You are eligible only for one Re-entry permit in general.


20 posted on 04/16/2006 11:29:58 AM PDT by Katrin
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To: Marine Inspector

She is not a US Citizen, but she is a permanent resident of the US and she can become a US Citizen in an year. She can not stay in India for more than 6 months if she wants to keep her residency.


21 posted on 04/16/2006 11:31:48 AM PDT by Katrin
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To: holyscroller

2 Weeks vacation is Canada is your idea of family?


22 posted on 04/16/2006 11:33:36 AM PDT by Katrin
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To: Katrin
Re-entry permit is only for 2 years. Than you have to come back and suffer. You are eligible only for one Re-entry permit in general.

Re-entry permits are valid up to 2 years and are issued on a case by case basis. They can be renewed and the resident alien can stay out of the country for longer then 2 years.

She is not a US Citizen, but she is a permanent resident of the US and she can become a US Citizen in an year. She can not stay in India for more than 6 months if she wants to keep her residency.

Yes, I know she is a resident. That's why she needs a re-entry permit if she is out of the US for more then a year (not 6 months). She can become a US Citizen, once she has been a resident for 5 years.

23 posted on 04/16/2006 12:57:21 PM PDT by Marine Inspector (Government is not the solution to our problem; Government is the problem)
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To: Marine Inspector

"Re-entry permits are valid up to 2 years and are issued on a case by case basis. They can be renewed and the resident alien can stay out of the country for longer then 2 years."

Once you have a Re-entry permit, you are loosing the previous years that count towards Naturalization.....


24 posted on 04/16/2006 1:54:34 PM PDT by Katrin
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To: Katrin
Once you have a Re-entry permit, you are loosing the previous years that count towards Naturalization.....

True, but not all resident aliens are concerned with ever being naturalized.

I've run into residents that have lived outside the US for 6 or more years. As long as they can convince CIS to issue them a travel permit, they are allowed to re-enter.

25 posted on 04/16/2006 7:11:47 PM PDT by Marine Inspector (Government is not the solution to our problem; Government is the problem)
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To: Marine Inspector

I have run to a lot of permanent residents who want to become US Citizen, but for keeping them away from their spouses for NO reason, like this woman, we are not helping.


26 posted on 04/17/2006 4:48:11 AM PDT by Katrin
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To: Katrin

There is a reason and our citizenship and immigration laws have a purpose.


27 posted on 04/17/2006 10:26:43 AM PDT by Marine Inspector (Government is not the solution to our problem; Government is the problem)
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To: Marine Inspector

Immigration laws are broken and they do not serve their purpose, when they separate husband and wife!


28 posted on 04/17/2006 2:30:35 PM PDT by Katrin
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To: Katrin
Not being born in this country and not having studied the history of our immigration laws, I understand why you don't see the purpose.
29 posted on 04/17/2006 2:58:42 PM PDT by Marine Inspector (Government is not the solution to our problem; Government is the problem)
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To: Marine Inspector

Exaclty because I studied the history of this country I do not understand why a country of Immigrants is so cruel to legal Immigrants. This is my last posting here, because you are getting a way to personal and this is really not solving the problem. I haven't seen a solution from you and this is really sad.


30 posted on 04/17/2006 3:22:02 PM PDT by Katrin
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To: goldstategop
At the same time our politicians propose amnesty for illegal aliens, they punish law-abiding legal immigrations by breaking up families. Call it the Feds Stuck On Stupid anti-family policy. Its unworthy of a great nation and unjust to those who play by the rules to become American citizens.

I work for an engineering firm and we have several people from Poland and other European companies. It takes years of hassle and a ton of money to get them a permanent status. These are highly educated, hard working people who make well into six figures and are supporting an average of three welfare families +. You would think the Fed Gov would want these kind of emigrants. To the contrary, it is very very difficult now for a WHITE European to get US citizenship or permanent work status. And no, I'm not a racist; just stating the facts!

31 posted on 04/17/2006 3:29:12 PM PDT by suijuris
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To: goldstategop
At the same time our politicians propose amnesty for illegal aliens, they punish law-abiding legal immigrations by breaking up families. Call it the Feds Stuck On Stupid anti-family policy. Its unworthy of a great nation and unjust to those who play by the rules to become American citizens.

I work for an engineering firm and we have several people from Poland and other European companies. It takes years of hassle and a ton of money to get them a permanent status. These are highly educated, hard working people who make well into six figures and are supporting an average of three welfare families +. You would think the Fed Gov would want these kind of emigrants. To the contrary, it is very very difficult now for a WHITE European to get US citizenship or permanent work status. And no, I'm not a racist; just stating the facts!

32 posted on 04/17/2006 3:29:15 PM PDT by suijuris
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To: goldstategop
Form I-130

My son and his family were held up at the US/Canadian border for something like 4 hours last year because his Israeli wife didn't have one of these docs.

33 posted on 04/17/2006 3:31:55 PM PDT by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 90-96)
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