Immigration Judge Philip J. Montante, Jr. signed an order today terminating the immigration court proceedings on behalf of our client, the wife of missing Army Spc. Alex Jimenez.
Mrs. Jimenez entered the
United States illegally on May 1, 2005. It took her 3 long hard days to walk over the Mexican/US border. Spc Jimenez is a United States Citizen by birth. Mr. and Mrs. Jimenez were high school sweethearts in the
Dominican Republic . The couple was married in the United States on June 14, 2004, in
Watertown New York.
Unfortunately, the celebration of the marriage was short lived. While on their honeymoon, the couple inadvertently drove over the Canadian/U.S. border at Niagara Falls, and Mrs. Jimenez was taken into custody for having been in the
U.S. illegally. Deportation proceedings were started, which required Mrs. Jimenez to appear before the Court in
Meanwhile, Spc. Jimenez deployed for his first tour of duty to
Iraq . While there, in addition to winning the Purple Heart, Spc. Jimenez found time to file the necessary paperwork with Citizenship and Immigration Services in order to sponsor his wife.
Thankfully, Spc Jimenez returned from
Iraq , and before deploying for his second tour of duty we requested that his wife's immigration matter be administratively closed so that Spc. Jimenez could concentrate on fighting for our country without the distraction of having to worry about the uncertainty of his wife's immigration status. Our request was granted.
When Spc. Jimenez went missing I contacted the Government to determine if anything could be done about his wife's case. They were unable to give me any answers though, because the law does not allow a spouse of a
United States citizen to apply for their Green Card inside the country if they came here by sneaking into the country. The law requires that they depart the
U.S. and apply for their Green Card in their Native Country.
The root of the problem is that because Mrs. Jimenez has been in the
United States illegally for more than one-year the second she leaves the country she triggers a ten-year bar. The only way she can get a waiver of this ten-year bar is if she can establish that it will cause her husband an extreme hardship if she is not allowed to return to the Country. If her husband does not return alive, Mrs. Jimenez will be in the position of not being able to apply for this waiver.
The government, under intense media scrutiny, moved the Immigration Court on June 21, 2007 to terminate the deportation proceedings against Mrs. Jimenez, and the Immigration Judge signed the order today (June 25, 2006).
Although this is good news, we are not out of the woods yet, because Mrs. Jimenez, although not facing the immediate prospect of deportation, still does not have legal status in the United States, nor can she work, or travel outside the Country. In essence she is a prisoner of the
U.S. without bars.
I will keep you posted as new information develops.