Denied my family. broken hearted

In 2003 I had a tragedy in my life and an unfortunate circumstance which caused me to have a CSC 2nd degree on my record. At the time I was married, and remained so until 2014, when my wife died. I wasn’t looking for anyone, but a year later I met my current wife who is a Philippine citizen. She asked me to marry her and she was so sweet, kind and loving that I couldn’t refuse. I agreed to travel to the Philippines to see her in person and meet her family. When I arrived all was exactly as she described and the love was very obvious for all to see. We had a church ceremony (informal) where we were engaged to be married by her pastor. My wife “J” has 4 children from a previous relationship and I love them all very much. I returned to the United States and began planning our wedding. Then I discovered that I would not be permitted to bring my fiance to America because of the AWA. I was terribly disappointed by this revelation. So I contacted my fiance and told her this also and while she was disappointed, it did not detract her from our dream. We decided to marry in the Philippines and we began planning it. One year after our engagement I traveled back to the Philippines for our wedding, but when I arrived in Manila, I was very surprised to be stopped cold by Philippine Immigration officials. I had not been aware that since my last trip to the Philippines, President Obama had signed the International Megan’s law into effect, And I was denied entry, because the U.S. Marshall’s office had advised Philippines immigration of my conviction and requested that I be denied entry. The statement was shown to me by those officials and it very falsely and maliciously stated that I “intended to commit crimes in their country”. I was shocked and very heartbroken, not only because It meant there would be no wedding, but also because those officials were going to send me back “to the country of Origin”, and I wouldn’t get to see my fiance who was waiting outside the airport and didn’t know what was happening inside. I explained that I had no intention of committing any crime and that I was there to get married. That I had spend more than a few thousand dollars on these plans and that I had just been there 1 year prior without incident of any kind. I’m not a threat to anyone and I just want to be with my family. All of this fell on deaf ears and I was kept overnight in the Manila Airport and returned to the United States the next day. 4 thousand dollars gone, just like that. A family heartbroken, just like that. AWA keeps me from bringing my family here, and now the IML keeps me from being with them in the Philippines too. WE were devastated by what happened in Manila. But you see, My “J” and I truly love each other very much. The kids are claimed by me as my own blood, and they call me dad. They give me love and respect and I give them all I have, that God has been so gracious to bless us with. Now the only place for us, in all of Asia where we can both go is Hong Kong. So I asked her, what do you want to do? She said,” let’s get married in Hong Kong. So that’s what we did. It may not have been the wise thing to do by the standards of many others, but we love our relationship and our family. My “J”, told me that she would rather have me for 1 month of the year, than to never have me at all. I feel exactly the same way about her. So now once a year I spend a few grand to fly us both to Hong Kong, where we can spend just 2 weeks together, because Hong Kong only allows Philippine citizens 2 weeks stay on a passport in one trip. I try to make that trip, twice a year when I’m able. But most of the time it’s just once a year. This is certainly not as we planned it. We’re half a world apart. and our love thrives and grows in spite of these hardships. I’m missing the kids quite badly, and we both feel that I’m missing out on their growing up and it rips me apart to be separated from them. I did manage to bring 1 of our daughters to Hong Kong back in 2019, but the other kids want to go also. They desire to be where I am too. It just takes so much money to continue flying and the hotels and expenses aren’t easy to come by. It’s 2023 now. It’s been 20 years since I had any trouble. I was a law abiding citizen before 2003, and I’ve continued to be ever since my conviction. I’ve remained in complete compliance with the law and it’s regulations. I don’t even have a speeding ticket in all that time. I understand the stated purpose for having these laws, but they reach too far and require unrealistic expectations of those involved. This is clearly not a case of exploitation of any kind and it doesn’t have anything to do with human trafficking. We are a loving family that just wants to be together. How can that be wrong? Why can that be denied? We have a 14 year old daughter, who I mentioned earlier. She has stage 4 kidney disease and she’ll need dialysis very soon followed by eventual kidney transplant surgery, if we can find a donor. Most Philippine citizens have no health insurance and this surgery is more cost than the big beautiful house that I built for my family there a few years ago. We will be forced to sell it when the time comes for that surgery. My wife and kids will have no place to go, apart from what I can send to them. We are saddened that they can’t come here. Here in America our daughter could be on my health insurance and covered for this operation. There are more options here for finding a donor than in the Philippines. We want her to live obviously I love her very much. The AWA prevents that from happening also. I blame myself for the unfortunate circumstances that led to my 2nd degree record. But I refuse to allow my life to be defined by it. It’s not who I am. I am an Honorably discharged veteran. For Obvious reasons I’m against both the AWA and the IML. Yes I want all kids to be protected, but this is completely unfair and it’s not even humane. Just let my family be together. This shouldn’t be so difficult.

One Comment:

  1. I’m so sorry to read this. I can relate. It’s very sad, cruel and inhumane to separate people from their family members because of their past. They already received the punishment and it’s ridiculous and uncivilized to be punished and be separated from family for lifetime.

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