Monday, May 4, 2009

Random Thoughts of the Day: Widows and Signs of the Apocalypse

First, a big thank you to federal Judge Christina A. Snyder. The United States government was attempting to deport foreign-born women who married American men and moved to America. In some cases, these widows had U.S.-born children with their husbands. "60 Minutes" did a story on this potential tragedy several months ago. I wrote a letter to Senator Diane Feinstein's office about this issue. Her office sent me an email a few weeks ago. Senator Feinstein supported the widows. Here is her email:

I want to thank you for writing to share your concerns regarding the so-called "widow penalty," which affects the immigration status of legal permanent resident spouses when the sponsoring U.S. citizen spouse dies.

I have great compassion for foreign nationals whose applications for legal permanent status are put into question when the sponsoring American spouse passes away. Under current immigration laws, an individual may only continue to seek adjustment of legal status if he or she was married for at least two years prior to the U.S. sponsor's death. If a couple is married for less than two years prior to the U.S. citizen sponsor's death, a foreign national cannot continue the adjustment of status process and faces the possibility of deportation.

I am an original co-sponsor of S. 815, which Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced on April 2, 2009 to ensure that surviving spouses of deceased U.S. citizens are not unfairly penalized. This bill would allow spouses who have been married for less than two years at the time of the U.S. citizen's death to continue to petition for status adjustment as an immediate relative, as long as they can prove that they entered into their marriage in good faith and not for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. This legislation has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which I serve. It is my hope that this legislation will move forward in this Congress.

Judge Snyder ruled that the Dept of Homeland Security could not reject the foreign-born widows' residency applications merely because the Department failed to process the residency paperwork before the American spouses died. In case America needed more evidence that the Dept of Homeland Security is, in fact, the Dept of Douchebaggery, this story ought to be the nail in the coffin.

I hope Congress passes Senator Nelson's proposed legislation.

Second, did anyone want to slap the homeowners mentioned in this SJ Merc story? ("Sellers of high-end Silicon Valley homes put dreams on hold," 5/2/09)

Basically, a local homeowner is upset that the house she bought decades ago isn't selling for the millions she thinks it's worth. She's lowered the price from $2 million to around $1 million. She wants to move to Puget Sound, and gosh darn it if local homebuyers aren't cooperating with her well-laid plans. So what does she do? She compares her situation with the Great Depression:

"I called my mom and asked her what it was like in the Depression," said Negler, who owns the Victorian. She realized, though, that she "sounded pretty selfish. We stopped looking at ourselves as the center of the universe."

I guess she should get some credit for calling herself "selfish"--it shows she has some self-awareness that her comparison to the Great Depression is off-kilter.

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