Monday, December 17, 2007

end the Widow Penalty

From the website of Surviving Spouses Against Deportation:

Marlin Coats didn't hesitate to jump in the water to try to save two drowning teens caught in a riptide at San Francisco Beach Park. He lost his life that Mother's Day in 2006, but because of his heroism those two teenagers survived. So why is the U.S. now responding to Coats' ultimate sacrifice by deporting his wife Jacqueline Coats?

U.S. Army contractor Todd Engstrom of Illinois gave his life for his country when he was killed in Iraq, and now the federal government is telling his wife Diana she too must go. And so must Dahianna Heard of Florida, whose husband Jeffrey Heard was shot in the head by insurgents in Iraq. What will happen to their children?

Because of a flaw in the law, women and men who entered this country legally are facing deportation when their spouses die during the lengthy administrative visa process. There are scores of these cases across the country affecting women, mothers and children.

The “widow penalty” is an obscure interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that puts widows or widowers of U.S. citizens at risk of deportation if they have not been married for at least two years and are waiting for an application for permanent residence (the “green card”) to be approved. I say it’s an “interpretation” of the INA because several federal courts that have ruled on the issue have disagreed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) interpretation of the statute. More on this below.

**contact your Senators and Congressional Representatives to end the widow penalty**

[Continued at Citizen Orange]

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