Carla Freeman- No justice
Background: In 2004, U.S. immigration officials ordered the deportation of Carla Freeman, a South African woman who lived in Portland. They said she was not eligible to remain in the United States because her residency application had not been approved when her American husband died in a car wreck.As of this moment, the class-action lawsuit looks like the only recourse these widows have. An amendment to end the widow penalty died along with other immigration legislation before Congress last summer.
Update: Freeman waged a three-year legal battle with immigration officials, but she gave up her last chance at U.S. citizenship when she let a Sept. 18 deadline pass without returning to the United States.
Freeman's Portland attorney, Brent Renison, said the legal proceedings brought back too many painful memories of her late husband, Robert, who died in 2002 in Indiana.
Plus, she faced years of uncertainty and could not return home to South Africa during the legal proceedings, even for a family emergency, Renison said.
As a result of her decision, Freeman, 30, can never return to the United States.
"She won't be able to see her husband's grave again," Renison said.
Robert Freeman is buried in Clarkston, Wash. The couple had no children.
Renison estimates that 85 people around the nation face deportation because their American spouses died before immigration officials processed their residency applications.
What's next: Renison filed a class-action lawsuit in Los Angeles in August seeking to end what he calls the "widow penalty."
Freeman after winning her initial legal challenge, suffered a further setback when Immigration officials continued to deny her petition and a three judge 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to issue a writ of mandamus. Effectively making Mrs. Freeman's legal challenge a lost cause.
This is nothing more a travesty of justice. Mrs. Freeman and the other widows only crime was that their husband's died before their paperwork was completed. People who try to work within the immigration system legally, and they get screwed over. Its a sad state of affairs when a country with 12 million illegal aliens presently residing in it, finds it necessary to deport foreign born widows of US citizens.
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