The odd story of the federal government trying to deport the wife of Georgia State Senator Curt Thompson (D - Norcross) made the Sunday's New York Times. Sascha Herrera, originally from Columbia, missed an immigration hearing back in 2005 because the notice and other case related documents were sent to an incorrect address. She married Sen. Thompson, a strong proponent of the rights of immigrants, earlier this year.
Because Sascha married a U.S. citizen, she should be allowed to stay here. But because the missed hearing occurred before the marriage, the government is taking the inflexible stance that she should be deported. If she is deported, it might be ten years before she could re-enter the United States.
Observers of this case and other immigration cases call the system "byzantine" and difficult to deal with. Perhaps fellow State Senator Sam Zamarripa said it best:
“It’s a very, very onerous system,” said State Senator Sam Zamarripa, a Democrat who was the first Hispanic elected to the Georgia Senate. “If the wife of a state senator can’t handle it, how can we expect people who are working in our labor force to handle the bureaucracy?”
“This is going to take a U.S. congressman or a senator to step in,” Mr. Zamarripa said. “To say, let’s wait a minute. Let’s think about this. This is a good person who deserves to be in this country.”
Sen. Thompson also says that his wife is a victim of a "notorio" that claimed he could do more for her than he actually could. He charged her $1300.00 for his "services."
In the state of Georgia, notaries public are little more than a glorified witness to signatures. There is little else they can do. Contrast this with other states, such as Florida, where notaries can actually perform marriage services.
Sen. Thompson has been a wonderful, truly progressive force in the state senate. He has a bright future in Georgia politics if he wants it. I can't say that I know his wife, Sascha. But Curt has a reputation for associating himself only with good people. Of all the things for INS to be worried about, I feel sure that Sascha Herrera is the very least among them.
It would be highly appropriate for officials, both Democrat and Republican, to step in and help the Thompsons. Hopefully there will a quick, reasonable resolution to this matter shortly.