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  • Couple without a country (this is just wrong)

    Published: November 15, 2007 11:05 pm

    Couple without a country

    Doctor and wife to be deported for paperwork error

    By Damian Gessel
    The Daily Item (Sunbury, Pa.)

    SELINSGROVE, Pa. "” On Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving, Dr. Pedro Servano "” a prominent local physician, business owner and father of four "” and his wife, Salvacion, will leave their home in Selinsgrove and drive north along Route 15.

    They will take with them travel documents, luggage, pictures of their children, keepsakes of the American life they've lived for 23 years. All of it together must weigh less than 80 pounds. They will leave the more than 2,000 patients Dr. Servano has cared for as a general practitioner in Hummels Wharf, the hundreds of customers who frequented Mrs. Servano's bakery in Sunbury, the community that welcomed the Servanos with open arms.

    Arriving at Allenwood Federal Prison Complex, they will don brown khakis and shirts "” their names and inmate numbers imprinted in black "” and join a population of prisoners behind bars.

    For weeks, maybe months, they will wait for a plane to fill with passengers.

    When it does, they will be deported to the Philippines, their homeland, but a country that now holds nothing for them.

    They will be forced to leave their family, their jobs, the elderly mothers they had been taking care of and who they likely will never see again.

    And unless a last-ditch effort by a team of lawyers succeeds in buying them more time, all of these things will have happened to the Servanos because two immigration documents were filled out incorrectly in 1978.

    The Servanos' situation has inspired dozens of letters of support from area leaders and friends, along with an online petition signed by hundreds of sympathizers. U.S. Rep. Chris Carney, D-Dimock, Sunbury Mayor Jesse Woodring, Northumberland Police Chief Tim Fink and others have implored the Department of Homeland Security to reconsider its decision to deport the Servanos.

    In fact, one of the Department of Homeland Security's own employees wrote a letter asking his organization to overturn its ruling.

    In a lengthy letter, counter-terrorism operative Bill Schweigart wrote: "I am deeply disturbed and saddened by ICE's plans to deport the Servanos... . They have four children; the oldest recently graduated from Temple University and is a member of ROTC, while the youngest is an honor student in middle school who has earned academic awards from Gov. Edward G. Rendell, Sen. Arlen Specter, Mrs. Cheney and first lady Laura Bush."

    The letter goes on to say: "I fervently believe in the ICE mission. However, the Servanos did not sneak into this country illegally, they have broken no laws, and they have not been a burden to the economy. They pose no threat... I cannot fathom how deporting the Servanos fulfills any portion of the ICE mission. In fact, I would argue the action runs counter to it.

    "Deporting the Servanos is not protecting America "” the Servanos are America... . This is a family to parade across the world's stage as an example of our nation's best and brightest."

    Gregory Graig, an attorney with Washington, D.C.-based legal firm Williams & Connolly who has served as assistant to President Bill Clinton and has worked on high-profile cases involving Sen. Edward Kennedy and Elian Gonza***, among others, recently took the Servanos' case.

    In an interview, Mr. Craig said he believes the Department of Homeland Security is overreacting.

    "When cooler heads take a look at the record in this case, they will agree the decision to try to deport the Servanos was a mistake," Mr. Craig said. "The deportation order is a travesty."

    Gregg Cotler, another lawyer working on behalf of the Servanos, calls them the poster children for why America needs to take a closer look at its immigration laws.

    "There has to be a more thorough thought process for a decision like this. The Servanos are the kind of people who have made the U.S. so strong, so culturally diverse, which is really what has made us so unique and special around the world," he said.

    So how has a couple widely considered pillars of their community come to be treated, by Mr. Cotler's account, like common criminals?

    Their plight began 29 years ago.

    p

    In 1978, Pedro's and Salvacion's mothers "” who were both already living in the United States "” filled out visas for their respective children to join them in America. Pedro and Salvacion, both graduate students in medicine, were young and in love.

    But they weren't married, meaning each mother had to check the box for "single" on her child's visa.

    Two years later, as the visas were being processed and Pedro and Salvacion were on a waiting list to come to the United States, after urging from Salvacion's disciplinarian father "” a Baatan Death March survivor who believed a man and a woman spending considerable time together should be wed "” Pedro and Salvacion eloped in a remote part of the Philippines.

    They were trouble-free for 10 years. Salvacion's name reached the front of the line to immigrate to the U.S. in 1982. Pedro followed her in 1984, and they began a life together in Philadelphia. He studied and practiced medicine throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. She continued nursing.

    In 1990, after a move to San Diego, the Servanos went to their local Immigration and Naturalization Service office to become U.S. citizens and were told there was a problem.

    They had come to the United States under the guise of being single, not as a married couple, the Servanos were told. They had gotten married in the interim between living in the Philippines and moving to America. They had filled out the wrong forms and would therefore be deported.

    For 17 years, the Servanos fought their deportation.

    They lost in front of an immigration judge in 1992; they lost at a board of immigration appeals.

    In 2002, they lost at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, one legal step removed from the Supreme Court.

    On April 3, 2002, three judges denied the Servanos' request for relief from deportation, returning the following ruling:

    "There was no abuse of discretion in denying Mrs. Servano's application for a deportation waiver, or Mr. Servano's request for suspension of deportation. The adverse credibility determinations... were based on substantial evidence, and supported the finding that Mr. Servano could not establish good moral character..."

    In short, the judges felt the Servanos had lied to the United States about their marital status.

    On Oct. 25, with their legal road at an end, they received two chilling letters. "They were told to show up at Allenwood on Nov. 23," Mr. Cotler said, "for their deportation."

    Now, the Servanos are banking on their lawyer's last-gasp attempt to keep them in the country. The chances of success are slim, Mr. Cotler admits.

    "On Wednesday, we filed with the director of the Department of Homeland Security and asked for a deferred action," Mr. Cotler said, explaining whether the Servanos are granted more time is entirely up to the director's discretion. Their only other hope is for U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter or Bob Casey to sponsor a private legislative bill staying the Servanos' deportation.

    But short of a legislative miracle, the Servanos may well be 8,500 miles from their home by Christmas, a vast expanse of Pacific Ocean separating them from the life they have made in America.



    Damian Gessel writes for The Daily Item in Sunbury, Pa.

  • #2
    USCIS should be able to determine between an honest mistake and outright material fraud. And yet, some people on this board will state, "there is nothing wrong with our immigration laws."
    "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams on Defense of the boston Massacre

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    • #3
      I had to read this article twice to make sure I understood it. I can't believe they are trying to deport these folks on a mistake made almost 30 years ago! They're upstanding people, have a family - why are they concentrating their efforts here when they should be going after the ones who are committing crimes?????

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      • #4
        Bill Schweigar, the DHS officer in this case, committed treason and should be deported as well. "Miatakes" = Fraud !

        DEPORT ALL FRAUDSTERS

        GOD BLESS AMERICA AND NO ONE ELSE !!!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ProudUSC:
          I had to read this article twice to make sure I understood it. I can't believe they are trying to deport these folks on a mistake made almost 30 years ago! They're upstanding people, have a family - why are they concentrating their efforts here when they should be going after the ones who are committing crimes?????


          I guess deplorable is the word of the hour, rather the day, time we live in.....
          This does not surprise me though....unfortunately.

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          • #6
            sorry, but these visa cheats did not 'make a mistake' -- they defrauded the government of the United States! They have had numerous chances to rectify this, yet they did nothing. They knew from the first day they filled out the immigration forms that they were lying and committing fraud,,,,so ship their lying behinds back to Manila...so what? Let this be a lesson: commit fraud against the US of A and get caught-- pay the price....and in this case, get 'das boot.' Right through the uprights.

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            • #7
              hahaha that was a good one iperson,,ur 100% right and i support u

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              • #8
                the two visa cheats blab about something they know nothing about....look up the word "fraud" ...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Someone12:
                  sorry, but these visa cheats did not 'make a mistake' -- they defrauded the government of the United States! They have had numerous chances to rectify this, yet they did nothing. They knew from the first day they filled out the immigration forms that they were lying and committing fraud,,,,so ship their lying behinds back to Manila...so what? Let this be a lesson: commit fraud against the US of A and get caught-- pay the price....and in this case, get 'das boot.' Right through the uprights.
                  Their mistake was an honorable one, S12. They have been living the 'legal" life in the US for
                  23 years, have great jobs, a family, a kid still in high school - and because of a paperwork problem, they are being deported? Sorry, your hard lined reasoning doesn't fly here. Not one bit. This situation really stinks.

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                  • #10
                    hey someone12 ,,let me know when u need a ride to the boarder man,,and like i said before,,let me know 2 or 3 days in advance,,so i can bring the truck ,so we can put ur tent and all ur rolling tobaccos u stinky pic of trash,,and ship u back to india

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                    • #11
                      sorry proudusc, but their problem wasn't caused by 'paperwork' - rather it was brought about due to these two liars and visa cheats....the question "married or single" is a simple one, yet they knew they were checking the wrong box, because if they checked 'married' their immigrant visas would have been delayed for some number of years,,,so these two dirtbags decided to lie/cheat and steal their way to the US, ahead of others doing it the 'legal' way..and now they are caught....too FN bad. Notice that the immigration judges have not been overruled based on some other facet of law....no, their decision is correct and based on law, not on whims or 'gosh, aren't these nice people even though they are visa cheats, let's overlook their lying and cheating'...nope....liars and visa cheats should be tossed...otherwise, we'll just get more...
                      and now to mike 2007...let's see if I can do this in a way that you will understand...
                      the 'boarder' is someone who lives in a rented room....perhaps you are thinking of the word "border"...or, more likely, you aren't thinking at all because that would require a minimal intellect, something you have yet to demonstrate that you possess....
                      so bring ur truck, and ur 'pic of trash' and ur tent, and I'll drive your sorry butt back to the airport....haf a nyce dai

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                      • #12
                        and tell us proudusc,,,what is an 'honorable' lie? What is the 'honorable' way to commit fraud against the USG???? Gee, you probably believe in 'honorable' bank robbers too.

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                        • #13
                          In 1978, Pedro's and Salvacion's mothers "” who were both already living in the United States "” filled out visas for their respective children to join them in America. Pedro and Salvacion, both graduate students in medicine, were young and in love.

                          But they weren't married, meaning each mother had to check the box for "single" on her child's visa.

                          Two years later, as the visas were being processed and Pedro and Salvacion were on a waiting list to come to the United States, after urging from Salvacion's disciplinarian father "” a Baatan Death March survivor who believed a man and a woman spending considerable time together should be wed "” Pedro and Salvacion eloped in a remote part of the Philippines.
                          S12, you need to reread the above. They were married because it was the right and honorable thing to do - something called values. Ever heard of them? You're such a lost cause, I don't know why I bother responding to you.

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                          • #14
                            Regarding davdah's comment, I tend to agree. I think there's more to this. If I read at least three articles on the same issue I usually find more information than the other articles represented.

                            If it's because of the error then I'm sure the attorney can straighten that out. But he himself said it's a slim chance. These people might've made other mistakes with the timing of filing forms, etc. Who knows? I do think there's other minute details not mentioned in the article.

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                            • #15
                              when these two liars were interviewed, they had to review all the documentation and sign attesting to its accuracy....however, their irresponsibility took over....would you want a diagnosis from this 'honorable' lying doctor? I wouldn't...after all, he has shown a propensity to lie before to get something....but hey, why don't you, proudusc, offer this clown a job?? step up to the plate and show us that you stand behind your empty words.

                              Comment

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