Marine Sgt. Michael Ferschke of Maryville, TN married the love of his life, Hota by a proxy marriage. The couple had plans on marrying upon his return from his tour of duty in Iraq. But life had different plans for them, Hota found out she was pregnant after Sgt. Ferschke deployed. When Hota announced to him that a pregnancy test came back positive, he was thrilled and they married by paper proxy.
Unfortunately, Sgt. Michael Ferschke, Alph Co.,3rd Recon Bn.,3rd Marine Division was killed in action August 10th, 2008 in Salah ad Din province in Iraq. Michael H. Ferschke III was born in a military hospital so he is a US Citizen. Things have not worked out for Michael’s mother Hota.
Hota has run into immigration bureaucracy because the marriage was by proxy.
However, she says the family is facing a new challenge when it comes to permanent residency.
She says a 1952 law is the problem. According to her, the law does not permit citizenship for Hota, because she did not consummate the marriage, given that the two married by proxy, and Sgt. Ferschke was killed before they reunited.
snip..There is a law that should cover Hotaru Ferschke. It is called the Armed Forces Naturalization Act of 2003. It reads in part-
(4) SURVIVING ALIEN SPOUSES, CHILDREN, AND PARENTS OF CITIZENS WHO DIE WHILE ON ACTIVE-DUTY SERVICE IN ARMED FORCES-
`(A) BENEFITS FOR SURVIVORS-
`(i) IN GENERAL- The benefits under this paragraph shall apply only to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a person who, while a citizen of the United States, died during a period of honorable service in the Armed Forces of the United States as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by such service.
`(ii) DETERMINATIONS- The executive department under which the citizen so served shall determine whether the citizen satisfied the requirements of clause (i).
`(B) SPOUSES- Notwithstanding the second sentence of subsection (b)(2)(A)(i), a person who is a surviving spouse described in subparagraph (A), and who was living in marital union with the citizen described in such subparagraph at the time of death, shall be considered, for purposes of subsection (b), to remain an immediate relative after the date of the citizen’s death, but only until the date on which the surviving spouse remarries.
Consulate officials are sticking to the letter of the 1952 law and reading the 2003 in the strictest possible way. Was it Congress intent to penalize people like Hotaru Ferschke just because her husband died in action before their marriage was consummated?
Hota’s temporary visa expires in January by order of our own government, the same government her husband lost his life for. Hota and Michael and the Ferschke family needs your help.
Rep. J Duncan of Tn has sponsored a personal bill to remedy this wrong.
Title: For the relief of Hotaru Nakama Ferschke.
Sponsor: Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] (introduced 7/10/2009)
Latest Major Action: 7/20/2009 Referred to House subcommittee.
Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.
Where are the rest of the Tennessee legislators in sponsoring this bill? We need to get support for this bill from more than just Tennessee Congressman and Senators. I know Congress is pretty busy right now trying to spend the country into oblivion but I think they could take some time out from their spendthrift ways to support a fallen hero and his family. Time is quickly running out. Please call your Representatives and Senators to sponsor this bill for this fallen Marine’s family.
VolunteerTV.com out of Maryville, Tn has also been following this story.
Cross Posted at Bear Creek Ledger