sue Posted July 12, 2006 Report Share Posted July 12, 2006 Hello This is my first post so please bear with meMy husband was diagnosed terminal on 4th May 2006 and died 13th May 2006So sudden, so unexpected, so many feelings and thoughts and cannot even bear to begin to bear the thought in seeking proffessional helpI have so many problems, I tripped over the hospice bed and torn a ligament and still in pain, my home got flooded the night before the memorial service I am a LPR living in Florida and so are/ were my husband and two of my sons but one son has got immigration problems and just been denied a visa to come and help me with finding a final resting place for my husband and probateI am desperate for my remaining son to come to the US to help meand am sick and tired of Bush keeping on about the illegals in the USA, you have a humaine soc for animals but not people. So there is NO special relationship between the USA and UK as I see itHere is my story that was in the LedgerBack --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Published Saturday, June 24, 2006Saturday, June 24, 2006 Legal Path Can Be Just As DifficultBy Bill RuftyThe LedgerSue Ward, left, holds up a printout from the Web site www.expatsvoice.org that she created for people seeking information about often complex U.S. immigration policies. She and friend Zoe Adams, right, are from England and own businesses in Polk County. (CALVIN KNIGHT/The Ledger)IMMIGRANT WEB SITEThe local Web site www.expatsvoice.org provides general information to legal immigrants on visas and applications for immigration to the United States. The site does not offer legal advice, but it explains rules and problems and also provides a way for immigrants to socialize.DAVENPORT -- Sue Ward created a Web site earlier this year to help fellow immigrants learn more about U.S. immigration rules.But through a series of tragedies, and what she calls bureaucratic indifference, she found out more than she cared to about the difficulties that even legal immigrants face in the United States.Her husband died suddenly, and her son, Gavin, is stuck in England, unable to help his mother."It almost seems at times like illegal immigrants have more rights and get attention quicker than those of us who follow the rules," said Lakeland friend Zoe Adams, who like Sue Ward is a legal immigrant from Great Britain.Sue Ward, her husband, Ian, and two of their three sons had been in the United States with permanent resident status. They operated real estate and property management offices in Davenport. They had been trying for the past four years to get their third son, Gavin Ward, over to the United States to be with the family.Then, Ian Ward, the breadwinner and head of the family businesses, was diagnosed with cancer that spread quickly, and he died May 13, two weeks after his diagnosis.Gavin Ward, 24, had been granted a waiver to visit his father during his terminal illness, but had to return to London upon his father's death to reapply for a visa that would let him stay here for at least six months to help his mother with probate and with her own health problems because of the death and an accident. Sue Ward said ideally, she'd like him to get a permanent resident card.On June 6, Gavin Ward dutifully showed up at the U.S. embassy in London after flying over from Davenport specifically for the meeting.He carried several documents showing that he had been in the United States on several occasions and never overstayed his visa. He also had a statement from his mother's doctor that he needed to be with her. He also carried a copy of an e-mail from U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, asking the embassy to consider his appeal.Despite all that, the embassy turned him down. He is stuck in England."He said that they didn't interview him. They just took his paperwork, told him to wait and came back saying he was refused. I don't think they even read the congressman's letter," Sue Ward said. "And they stamped his passport that the visa had been rejected, which means he will get a hard time every time he tries to enter this country, now, even with a visa."A FRUSTRATING SYSTEMWhile Congress and business leaders work to find a solution to the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States, legal immigrants and their supporters complain that the entire system needs to be reformed.They say attention must be paid to the problems of those who entered this country legally, many of whom have invested in businesses here.The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and ensuing tightening of security have made times difficult for legal immigrants as well.The cumbersome visa system, with its seemingly endless variety of restrictions and time limits, is part of the problem, say some legal immigrants.Rude and uncaring federal employees are another, Sue Ward said.Earlier this year, she and friend Adams created a Web site -www.expatsvoice.org -- to provide general information to legal immigrants on visas and applications for immigration to the U.S.The site does not offer legal advice, but it explains rules and problems and also provides a way for immigrants to socialize with others.CRIPPLED BY DELAYSBut Ward's own problems can't be solved with her Web site.The problem with Gavin's entry began years ago, with the Wards not understanding the various visas and time requirements and with delays among American immigration officials in meeting their own deadlines.After taking family vacations here since 1989, Ian Ward moved with one of his sons to Polk County in 1999 to begin a property management and realty businesses, a branch of his office in England.Sue Ward stayed with Gavin and a younger son in England for a time, then moved with the younger son to Polk County. Gavin was to join after he graduated from college. All three boys were younger than 21 at the time of the initial move.But when the Wards tried to get the family's green card status for Gavin, it was first held up at the Texas service center for immigration, then sent on to the embassy in London in 2002. By then, he had turned 21, and he was denied."If we had known at the time, he could have applied for an L visa, which means transferring from a company outside the U.S. to a U.S. branch," Ward said. "Gavin is a director in our London travel office."Delays such as the one that hurt Gavin Ward's visa application are a major problem, said a local immigration lawyer."There are applications for temporary worker visas, especially for Mexican nationals, filed in 1991 that are just now being heard. We are talking about a massive backlog and a broken system," said David Maldonado, a Lakeland immigration lawyer and a contributing columnist on immigration law to The Ledger's Vision Latina."There are two general status groups for those entering the United States: nonimmigrant and immigrant status," he said. "Under nonimmigrant status, you have maybe up to 10 types for people who don't want to stay permanently in the United States. There is a visa for entertainers, athletes, agricultural workers, an investor's visa or E visa in different types."Then there is the immigrant status, which are usually familybased or employment-based."Maldonado said President Bush's call for immigration reform is caused by the overwhelmed visa system."There is a cap of 65,000 H1D visas, a type of temporary worker visa. That cap was met this year in 45 days," he said.And unfortunately for Gavin Ward, some embassies do not do a very good job at helping people with their visa problems, Maldonado said, noting the frustration of a colleague who deals frequently with the U.S. Embassy in London."The embassy in the UK has had a lot of problems. That is where you hear about a lot of these cases. Initially, the woman in charge of the section left, and they apparently have not brought someone in who can take charge. He said they are basically just running amok over there," Maldonado said.A PRECARIOUS PART OF POLK BUSINESSAdams and her husband, Steve, came to the United States with their two children on what is called an E visa.It is one of the easiest to get -- relatively speaking. If you own a business in the United States and employ Americans, you can have this type of visa, but it has its drawbacks, too."My husband and I own a Lakeland pool service. We employ Americans and contribute to the economy," said Zoe Adams, "but we can never have permanent residency."That's OK. We understood that coming in with an E visa, " Zoe Adams said. "And we accepted that, but there are still little glitches. For example, we are waiting for our E visa to be renewed. Until then, I can't go to Britain to check on my elderly aunt. Well, I can go, but I can't get back in."Mark Jackson, executive director of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing, said the difficulties faced by legal immigrants can have an adverse effect on the county's economy."Ms. Ward has had a very tough time. From a pure business and economic standpoint, the British represent two sides of the economy here," Jackson said."On the demand side, we have many short-term rental customers who stay a long period of time, buy from our stores and go to our restaurants," he said. "On the supply side, you have a very skilled group of workers and retailers who want to invest in the United States and Polk County."Ward said she doesn't want people to think it is just one national group that is having difficulty with the system for entering this country legally."I have a friend who is a U.S. citizen, and he has two elderly relatives in Turkey who are in need of someone to care for them," Ward said. "He can't leave his job to go over and make arrangements because of his children and wife. His wife has said she could be their caregiver and let them live out their days here, but they will likely die before they can get through the visa waiting list."Ward's case has been taken up not only by local businesspeople, immigration reformers and a congressman -- the London Daily Mail has written an account of her troubles.That's not likely to help other businesses here in Central Florida hoping to attract more British tourists and investors."It's just so unfair. I cry every day," Ward said. "I need my son with me, and those people (State Department officials) are so cold and uncaring. The person who turned down Gavin's visa didn't even have the decency to say, `Sorry for your loss' over his dad dying."Bill Rufty can be reached at email@example.com or 863802-7523. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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