Widow penalty class action
From the Orlando Sentinel-
A Venezuelan immigrant from Central Florida is among more than 80 widows who filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday, trying to stop U.S. immigration officials from deporting them. All were married to Americans who died before their petitions for residency were approved. Dahianna Heard, a Casselberry woman originally from Venezuela, is named as one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.I blogged previously about Dahianna Heard here. Our mindless government bureaucracy punishing women whose only crime is their husbands died before their papers were processed. They tried to immigrate legally and they get screwed by the immigration system. Doesn't it make me sick?
Heard told the Sentinel of her predicament last year when she found out that the killing of her husband, Jeffrey Heard, in Iraq also meant that she could face deportation. The couple's toddler, an American by birth, might have to return with her to Venezuela.
Heard was a contractor for a security company that was providing support for U.S. troops when he was shot last year during an ambush in Fallujah. They were about three months short of the immigration-law requirement for spouses of deceased U.S. citizens to have their visa petitions heard.
Dahianna Heard could not be reached Thursday, but her Orlando-based attorney, Ralph Pineda, said her appeals to U.S. immigration officials remain pending.
"The class-action means there are many plaintiffs who are similarly situated," Pineda said. "The lawsuit is saying this is an injustice because these are good marriages where the future of American children is at stake."
Attorneys for some of the estimated 85 widows affected nationally say the government has interpreted federal law too harshly.
If a couple have been married less than two years, and the application has been approved, the foreign-born spouse can seek a review that is considered on a case-by-case basis, according to immigration officials.
But if an application is pending at the time of death, "then it's not considered," said Chris Rhatigan, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Services in Washington.
Exceptions include widows of active military personnel as opposed to contractors, such as Heard.
The courts aren't doing anything either, which leaves me to believe the class action suit will get nowhere.(This marks the first time I can recall my supporting one of these suits) Look at the gutless wonders of the 9th circuit in their most recent decision regarding Carla Freeman.
The widow penalty is a travesty. Those officials who enforce it are despicable.
Linked to- Blue Star, Rosemary, Third World County, The World According to Carl,