jmward14 (jmward14) wrote,

Draft Letter for Teri & SJ

I've X-posted this on qnotku's journal, but I figure it wouldn't hurt to run it here. This is the letter my mom, dh and I are sending to Congressman Moran. Hope it will prove useful to the rest of you kind people too.

The Honorable James Moran
5115 Franconia Road, Suite B
Alexandria, VA 22310

Dear Congressman Moran:

I'm writing on behalf of Stephen J. Smith, Alien Number A78 206 814. Stephen is a British citizen and registered nurse who has been trying for five long years to obtain a resident visa so he can live in the United States with his wife, Teri.

Stephen's and Teri's struggle with the INS and the revamped USCIS reads like a bad joke. From their first filings in 2000, careless INS/USCIS workers have repeatedly lost or mislaid his paperwork, confusing him with other Stephen Smiths (including one in Wisconsin -- a state neither Teri nor Stephen have ever visited). Stephen and Teri have sent documents certified mail, registered mail and return receipt, only to have USCIS tell them that they could be lying about the contents of the delivered envelopes. At Stephen's bio-metrics interview session, the caseworker even went so far as to complain that she wouldn't have so much work to do if they hired a lawyer.

Stephen and Teri cannot afford the $3-10,000 cost of an immigration lawyer, and they have yet to find a pro bono firm who will handle immigration cases not involving political asylum. Now, to add insult to injury, Stephen has received a deportation letter for supposedly not filing tax documents contained in an envelope for which they have the return receipt.

If he is deported, Teri faces a health catastrophe of major proportions. She is up for three major surgeries in August. If she does not receive these surgeries -- and expert follow-up care -- she could die or be paralyzed for life. Since Stephen cannot work while awaiting his resident visa, she is the sole support of their family. Without her income, he cannot qualify for residency. Without his nursing, she will be unable to work and thrown to the mercy of an already overburdened social service system that cannot provide 24-hour care under the best of circumstances.

Teri and Stephen are good people, and Stephen's skills as a nurse make him a very valuable asset to the local workforce. Unlike the USCIS, you have a remarkable record in helping deserving foreign nationals gain resident status. I hope and I trust you will do your very best to help them. Thank you.


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