The Short Story...

My Wife's former boyfriend, an American whom she met in Kiev, after several months of communication and dating, arranged for her to travel to the U.S. and enter illegally. Sad thing though, as he was already married. Quite a guy.

I met her almost two years later, when they returned to San Diego from Hawaii, where he had been hiding her. He introduced her as his "wife". Only months later would I discover the secrets that were being carefully protected. She and I became friends, as he would bring her to the flight school where he and I worked at the time.

After discovering the depths of the deception surrounding her life, I and others, helped her discover the truth behind his actions. This was a devastating time for her, and although she had had doubts before, being presented with the truth was a difficult time. I offered to send her home. She had been gone for about three years or so by this time. She didn't want to leave. We moved her out of the place where he "kept" her, and into my folk's motor home. This bought her some time to think about what she wanted for a change.

I had been captivated by her since the first time I saw her, and she had expressed interest, so we began dating. Some months later, she accepted my proposal of marriage. We were married in South Lake Tahoe in September of 2003.

Shortly after being married we started the process to change her legal status. We sought the services of an attorney, but he turned out to be a fraud. Taking our $950 fee, and doing nothing with it at all.

We then searched for a real lawyer that could help us. Jacob S. came very highly recommended from acquaintances, so we engaged his services. This began the process that has consumed us over the last few years.

Jacob filed the necessary paperwork to request a visa for my wife. This began the process where we knew that she would have to return to Ukraine for an interview with the U.S. Consulate there. This interview date was slow in coming. Many months passed with no news. Then, in January, 2006, we get notification that the date had been set since November, and that it was eight days away! We couldn't possibly make that short notice, so Jacob secured a 30 day extension. On January 25, 2006 I put my wife on a plane from LAX to Kiev. She's been there ever since.

Vica had her interview the first week of February. Obviously, we explained the entire situation, and were denied the visa on the basis that she had entered illegally. No consideration at all for the methods used, who really was responsible, her part in this, nor the fact that her Husband of two years was still in San Diego. This was disappointing to say the least. The first sign that this system is inflexible and not detail oriented.

Working from San Diego, while I was working a 50 hour/week job, Jacob filed the necessary paperwork to apply for a Hardship Waiver, on my behalf. I do not speak or read Ukrainian or Russian. I work in a field that doesn't exist in any recognizable form in Ukraine. The chances of me being successful in my vocation there are remote. I have what we believe Congress had in mind when they put in the clause for the hardship waiver. We made our case, and paid more fees.

I made a trip to Ukraine in July 2006, to see my wife and meet my in-laws for the first time. I was there for ten days, and enjoyed the trip immensely. Especially so, seeing my bride of almost three years for the first time in many months. I returned with the hope that we'd soon get the Waiver letter, allowing her return.

In October of 2006 we received the letter denying the hardship waiver. I couldn't believe it. We had met the letter of the law, but he clerk adjudicating this in the U.S. Consulate in Moscow didn't appear to have even read our evidence. Included in the denial were inaccuracies, misunderstanding and in one paragraph, it appeared that the clerk cut - and - pasted from someone else's letter, even referring to me (apparently) with the wrong person's name! The clerk totally ignored the volume of phone records and my trip to Ukraine, stating that I had made no effort to contact my wife. Utterly ridiculous, and I conclude scandalous.

This was devastating. The options laid out before us were daunting. Uproot my life here, leave my career and reasonably high paying job, and move to Ukraine. Or, file an appeal.

Obviously, moving was the lesser of the two options. I sought to remain in the U.S., where I intend to raise my family, and make a life for us. So the appeal was the lesser of the evils. Unfortunately, this process is extremely slow and cumbersome.

Again, Jacob provided assistance in filing the lengthy brief that we prepared. Citing the inaccuracies in the denial letter, I hoped that someone would intervene in a system that was doing nothing but consuming time and money.

I contacted my local representatives's offices, and my State's representatives. To his credit, the staff in my local Congressman's office did offer to write a statement that we included in our brief. This was the sum total of the assistance we received from any elected officials. Inquiries to the offices of my State's U.S. Senators, Diane Feinstien and Barbara Boxer, were not even returned.

As I write this, some sixteen months after my wife's departure, we are no where nearer her return. I'm being forced to consider leaving my country in order to be with my wife. I wonder, can you imagine the stress and the impact that this could have on a family?

Update: November 2007. Two hundred copies of a flyer were distributed throughout the entire U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. back in June of '07.

Not one response has been received.

Update: February 2009. More than two years have passed since I applied for an appeal on the denial of waiver. Now we've received their answer, and in keeping with their past bureaucratic responses, it has been denied. What this effectively means is that I do not get the opportunity to speak on our behalf to an "impartial" judge. Rather, the entire proceeding reverts to the office in Moscow, Russia where the initial mistakes were made to begin with. The bureaucracy would have us begin the entire process, including all of the delays and of course the fee$, all over again.

We began this process over three years ago, and are now back at square-one. Our only real hope is that someone can intervene and bring some sense to these proceedings.



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Thomas Jefferson:

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government"

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