Legislation to Aid U.S. Service Members who Marry Foreigners

Posted On: December 13, 2010

On November 15th, the House of Representatives passed legislation to aid US service members who marry foreigners.

The bill was created in response to the case of Hotaru Ferschke, a Japanese woman, who married an US marine that was killed in Iraq. Since she was not a US citizen, Ferschke could not immigrate to the US in order to raise their son. The bill passed would prevent foreigners married to US service members from having to consummate their marriage in order to qualify for US citizenship. Hotaru and Michael Ferschke were married over the phone in July 2008, learned Ferschke was pregnant shortly after he deployed from Okinawa and a month later he was killed in Baghdad. Hotaru was denied paperwork for legal immigration to the US because the Department of Homeland Security stated their marriage wasn’t in accordance with US law.
Many senators and representatives are working to get the bill passed in both houses, the bill’s sponsor Rep. John J. Duncan (R-TN) said, “any person looking at this case can see that this loophole is tragic and deserved to be closed.” It’s still unclear when the bill will make it to the senate.