Missing Soldier’s Wife Threatened With Deportation

This strikes me as one of those stories that, once having had the bright light of media shined in its direction, will be resolved fairly. But my perception about such things was shaped back in the days when low-level bureaucrats, ever the sticklers for rules, were encouraged by a compassionate (and easily embarrassed) government to break those rules for the little guy when fair was really fair. Now we have a government that is utterly shameless and only breaks rules for its own benefit, while it tyrannically enforces adherence by everyone else, no matter how ridiculous. So I’m not as sure how this will turn out as I once was. Anyway:

While the U.S. military searches for a soldier missing in Iraq, kidnapped by insurgents possibly allied with al Qaeda, his wife back home in Massachusetts may be deported by the U.S. government.

Army Spec. Alex Jimenez, who has been missing since his unit was attacked by insurgents in Iraq on May 12, had petitioned for a green card for his wife, Yaderlin Hiraldo, whom he married in 2004.

…Her attorney is seeking a hardship waiver, which so far the government won’t grant.

In typical fashion*, it was because the couple petitioned to make Hiraldo legal that her illegal status was discovered and she was summarily threatened with deportation: “Her husband’s request for a green card and legal residence status for his wife alerted authorities to her status, [their attorney, Matthew Kolken] said.”

Thank the fates for Senator Kerry stepping up to the plate on Hiraldo’s behalf.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has asked federal immigration officials not to deport Hiraldo.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Kerry said the grief and stress being felt by Hiraldo should not be compounded by worries about her immigration status.

“Under no condition should our country ever deport the spouse of a soldier who is currently serving in uniform abroad,” Kerry said. “I feel even more strongly in this case, given the terrible uncertainty surrounding Army Specialist Alex Jimenez.”

In his letter, Kerry urged that no action be taken against Hiraldo while her husband remains missing.

“I believe this is a very real test of our government’s compassion for a military family which has already made enormous sacrifices for the United States,” he wrote.

Right on. I hope Chertoff & Co. still have enough soul to be shamed, since I don’t think we can bank on compassion.


* Early in Mr. Shakes’ immigration process, something similar (but on a much, much smaller scale) happened to us, which I’ll share just to point out how silly the INS/DHS/wev can be about its gazillions of rules. We’d filed all the paperwork for the fiancée visa, and it was in process; we were just waiting to find out the date when he would go the Embassy and get his final paperwork. We were literally weeks away from his being able to legally reside in the US (contingent on our getting married within 90 days), and he decided to come for a visit. Our thought was that he’d come to stay for a few weeks, and when we got the notice, we’d fly back to London together and get the visa, and then come home together. So he was on his way over, flying through Dublin, and he gets stopped by US customs, who tell him he’s not allowed to enter the US because his visa application indicates an intent to stay in the US—and it’s illegal for foreigners to enter the US with an intent to stay. (We had no idea he couldn’t visit once the visa application was in process.) So he was turned away because they figured at the one yard line of the huge rigmarole that is legal immigration, he was going to chuck it all and just become an illegal alien. How idiotic is that? Ultimately, I just went to Scotland instead and we hung out there until the visa came through.

The thing I’d like to point out about our case (and the story here) is that it was only because we were trying to do things legally that immigration services knew one of their rules was getting broken. And on trips to various immigration offices, we’ve repeatedly seen security called on people who are at the immigration office trying to get their paperwork sorted out—whole families, including kids, handcuffed and detained. No benefit of the doubt is given to people who are trying to do the right thing. Someone who gets deported has learned that if they sneak back in, or even fly in completely legally then get off the plane and just simply stay, they’re probably not going to get caught, unless they do something foolish like try to get legal. That’s a big flaw in our system.


Filed under 01_shakespeares_sister

16 responses to “Missing Soldier’s Wife Threatened With Deportation

  1. I haven’t yet got the chance to point out to someone bitching about undocumented immigrants illegal aliens that if their ancestors came over in the early centuries of North American colonization, they were also undocumented. Their folks didn’t have to deal with the massive inconvenience and cost (just the official costs are daunting, never mind the bribes necessary sometimes) of legal immigration today.

    And one more time, just in case repetition helps the message sink in: entering the United States illegally is not a crime. It is a violation of administrative law, not criminal law. Which is why there’s a separate judicial system for immigration violations.

    Legal immigration should be made easier, not harder. But the xenophobic “nativists” (odd how most of them seem to be white) seem to hew to the rule of “I got mine, so fuck you and yours.”

  2. nightshift66

    This is the one time that I’m actually optimistic for a proper outcome. (Fainting couch alert, as you say.) The only area Bush hasn’t been a complete tool in is immigration, for whatever reason. Also, Rove is political animal enough to recognize that going against a missing combat soldier’s wife isn’t going to play well with anyone. So for purely selfish, political reasons I think she gets to stay at least until her husband’s status is determined.

  3. Melissa McEwan

    Legal immigration should be made easier, not harder.

    Yes. It’s an extremely difficult process. Unnecessarily difficult. And, by comparison to most, Mr. Shakes and I had an easy time of it.

    I should note, however, that many of the ridiculous hoops through which legal immigrants have to jump were necessitated by men who mistreated mail-order brides, i.e. buying women to become their sex slaves/maids. Problem is, most of those hoops don’t really, as it turns out, stop that from happening. As fast as the DHS can institute a new requirement (e.g. documented proof of having been in each other’s presence within the two years preceding the visa petition), the mail-order bride companies customize their services to accommodate them (e.g. come to visit and they will take your picture with a bevy of beauties; just make sure to pick one of them within two years and you’re all set!).

    Unofficially, I think different petitions are probably given different types of scrutiny. Mr. Shakes and my petition (two people, same race, same age, etc.) was likely examined for the possibility that he just wanted a green card. They probably paid the most attention to our financial records to make sure no money was exchanging hands. If his name had been Ahmed Muhammed, we would have been given a different type of scrutiny for sure. Or if I’d been an old white dude and he’d been a much younger woman of a different race from Asia or Eastern Europe.

    But that’s all unofficial. Everyone has to jump through all the same hoops, even if rules were made for situations that clearly don’t apply to you.

  4. i have been telling people for quite a while that one of the reasons there is such a large population of illegal immigrants is that the laws and regulations for legally accomplishing it are totally fucking insane. i have two neighbors from the UK who have been trying diligently for the last eight years to jump through the hoops, in the specific order and at the correct hieght. every time we think that they are about to flog this beast into the barn, they are notified about something that needs to be resubmitted, or this new regulation which just came through. they have one child who was born, right here in arizona, while the family was residing legally and is therefore, a citizen. but “homeland security” (and putting INS under the homeland security aegis made an already notoriously beaurocratic and impersonal agency even worse) doesn’t seem to have any qualms about the idea of breaking up a family in order to “protect” us from folks who only want to live and work.

    i am beyond disgusted by the whole process.

  5. oddjob

    (Just as a matter of detail, “INS” no longer exists. It was dissolved when the Dept. of Homeland Security was created. Its functions continue, but under other agency names.)

  6. Jesus fucking christ. Between this post, Kate’s post about Shaq, and Jeff’s post about not using the word rape in a trial, I’m going to be hard pressed to choose my Jackassery of the Day.

    Then again, with BushCo in charge, it’s almost always a hard choice.

  7. Melissa McEwan

    Just as a matter of detail, “INS” no longer exists.

    I know, but when we started our process, it was with INS. DHS came later. Hence my slashed reference.

  8. According to the headlines on Boston.com (for the video newscast, so I can’t watch it from work) she isn’t going to be deported. So good news.

  9. INS may not exist any more, but La Migra is forever.

  10. It is hard to get much more petty than to deport someone while her soldier husband is missing in action.

  11. It is hard to get much more petty than to deport someone while her soldier husband is missing in action.

    What the Fuck is wrong with you guys? Can’t you see this if for the good of all of you. She gets kicked out of the country and the bastards won’t have to pay her any kind of compensation/pension (If such a thing exists in these days of “Support the Troops.”) when they find her husbands body. Simple my dear fucking Watson!

    And now they are trying to get illegals to join up! What a bunch of useless, fucking twats! And if they do then they can send whole families back to where they came from.

    Why o why weren’t there such laws in place a couple of hundred years ago? The fucking Bush family would still be living in an Irish bog where they belong.

  12. CJ_in_VA

    Mr. CJ is Canadian. I’m American. We chose to get married and live here in the states. We followed all the rules. And that’s when the fun began!

    We had to submit forms A, B, and C. Form A was contingent on Form B. Our lawyer submitted all at the same time. Form A – received. Form C – received. Form B? No idea. Form A – denied because Form B was missing. Form C denied because form A was denied. Lawyer sorts this all out for us.

    While they are busy chasing down paperwork, we have the temerity to move from Maryland to Virginia. We put in a change of address. Appointment gets scheduled for Maryland. We go to the Maryland appointment only to be told we’re going to need to change our address. So we submit another change of address. Another appointment is scheduled – you got it, Maryland. We go to Maryland to be told we need to file a change of address. We file a third change of address. We finally get an appointment for Virginia. Virginia office seems confused because our address is in… yup, Maryland. We put in a FOURTH change of address. We finally get to do the “Green Card” interview where they treat us like criminals and make us identify pictures of people in our wedding album. Provisional Permanent Residency is granted.

    Several years later we have to do the follow-up interview to move from provisional to permanent. We live approximately 45 minutes from Alexandria where our previous meeting was. So our appointment is scheduled in Norfolk – 2.5 hours from where we live. We went to Norfolk because we were told that we could go sit in the Alexandria office and hope someone would see us but there would be no guarantee.

    What a mess. I wouldn’t wish this process on anyone!

  13. (Grumpy, it bothers me that when the Deciders behind this BS are actually dicks, they get cursed out as twats. Strikes me as kind of like labelling the Chimp-in-Thief’s policies as “liberal” now that the meanest intelligence can see they’ve failed.)

  14. Pingback: The Debate Link

  15. Pingback: Salon - The Blog Report - Home

  16. Pingback: The Carpetbagger Report » Blog Archive » Thursday’s Mini-Report

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s