For a change:
A bill that would allow the 26-year-old woman to begin her path to U.S. citizenship passed the House on Wednesday after having cleared the Senate earlier this month. It now awaits a signature from President Barack Obama.
Congress’ move essentially grants an exemption to U.S. law that will allow Hotaru Ferschke to relocate from Okinawa to the Tennessee hometown of her husband, Sgt. Michael Ferschke.
“I kept my promise to my son. This is what makes me feel so much better than anything,” said Robin Ferschke, Michael’s mom, who has been fighting to help her daughter-in-law move to the U.S. “I am sure my son is proud of me.”
The “private relief legislation” was crafted specifically for Hotaru Ferschke, who married Michael Ferschke over the phone in July 2008 while he was deployed to Iraq. She was already pregnant with their child.
A month after marrying, the 22-year-old Marine was killed while conducting door-to-door searches near Baghdad.
Hotaru Ferschke was so touched by the outpouring of love from her in-laws after his death that she wanted to raise their son in Maryville, Tenn., which was her late husband’s wish.
Though their “marriage by proxy” was valid by military standards, it was not recognized by the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the immigration process. Citing a federal law that requires marriages to be consummated in order to qualify foreign-born spouses for a path to U.S. citizenship, DHS denied Hotaru Ferschke’s immigration application. The Ferschkes’ son, Mikey, is a U.S. citizen because his father was.
A salute to those in Congress who righted this wrong.