Slain veteran

  • 11 Jan

infoLast year we reported to you a story of a fallen US Marine and his family’s immigration story where USCIS refused to recognize the marriage between the two and therefore denied the “green card” application filed by the pregnant wife, Hotaru Ferschle of Okinawa, Japan, after Michael Ferschke, 22, a team leader with the Okinawa-based 3rd Reconnaissance Battlalion, 3rd Marine Division, was killed in Iraq during a house to house search only shortly after marrying his then pregnant fiancée by telephone.

Although the US military gave the full effect to the marriage and therefore the fallen soldier’s wife was given the full spouse benefit of as a fallen marine's wife from the military, the wife's permanent resident application based on the marriage nevertheless was denied by the USCIS.

The reason for the government’s denial of the wife's immigration benefit based on her marriage to a US citizen claim was actually well-founded because the current immigration regulations do require that all not-in-person marriage are not valid for immigration purpose until the marriage is consummated after marriage by proxy ceremony which the couple apparently was not able to establish in the instant case.

It is a very unfortunate example of a typical legality or compliance problem and, to “right a wrong” in the case, two separate private bills were simultaneously filed with both the House and Senate. Hotaru’s authorized stay had expired while the two private bills were still under review by the legislature and as a result, Hotaru and her now one-year old child, Michael Ferschle, III, had to leave the country to avoid deportation process. The two had departed the United States last week and returned to Okinawa, Japan where she has a permanent job at the Okinawa Air Force Base.

However, if and when the private bills eventually pass the legislation process, they will become a private law that would grant “permanent residence” or “green card” status to Hotaru without affecting the general rules of the public laws under the current immigration procedures. Therefore, it is a very realistic prediction that Hotaru will be able to return to the United States once the private bill clears the legislature.

Until then, she will just have to wait outside the United States.

If you have any question about this article or also have a family or marriage related US immigration question or wish to learn more about “private bills” as they might be applicable to you for immigration purpose, you can email your questions directly to Yu, South & Associates at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and our experienced immigration attorneys will respond to your inquiries personally and promptly, usually within 24 hours, if not sooner.

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