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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 16, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Immigration reform: More than an issue of illegal immigration

Immigration reform isn’t just about people who are in this country illegally [“Immigration reform and the economy,” Northwest Voices, Jan. 5].

There are thousands of U.S. citizens who are forced to live without family members who are citizens of other countries. The petition process to bring family members to the U.S. puts the final burden of decision-making on overworked consular staff at U.S. embassies.

To their credit, they are keeping out thousands of applicants who shouldn’t be here. But, unfortunately, many legitimate families, who have strong emotional ties and share the need to live together, raise and educate children and worship together in a house of God, are kept apart.

The current consular process keeps the U.S. citizen spouse from participating in the visa interview process. If the consular officer has concerns, they aren’t raised in the interview until after the visa is denied. There is no opportunity to appeal or to address concerns before the case is returned to the U.S.

In the case of my family, we’ve waited two years for the opportunity to address the concerns of our case. Meanwhile, every night when I put the children to bed they pray, “I need my brother, I need my mother,” and I pray, “I need my wife.”

Doug C. Coulbert, Kent

Comments | More in Immigration | Topics: illegal immigration, immigration reform

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