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E-letter: U.S. Denies Rachel’s Residency


Hey Everyone,
Well, we just got word back from the US immigration services, and as you could probably tell by the subject line — we were denied! Yup… kind of big and wierd news huh? When we were hit with the news, Rachel and I experienced a wide range of thoughts, questions and emotions. What does this mean for us now? Would we still go on internship? What about after internship? Was this God’s way of pushing us out of the US nest? One good thing is that it drove me to prayer.
Let me just briefly explain why we were denied:
The bottom line is that we were denied on the basis that we were a:
“Threat to become a public charge”
This is the Immigration term for those who are not able to prove that they are self-sustainable, and do not have a suitable co-sponsor. Rachel and I recieved fee wavers for our documentation, and the adjudicator had decided that if we didn’t pay the fees for the paperwork, then we were not eligible for residency.

Ok, that being said, we do not feel that this was a correct/just decision though, and let me explain why.
First, the label “public charge” is referring to one who recieves cash benefits from the goverment. The USCIS documentation says specifically that non-cash benefits such as health care, should not be considered when determining who is a “threat to become a public charge.”
When we first read about the fee waiver that was available to us, we figured that it would either they would grant us our fee waiver or not. If they didn’t, then we would find the money for the fees and pay them. But, what they did was worse. They accepted our papers and we went through the 18month application process, found an appropriate co-sponsor, and then they denied us after 18 months because we didn’t pay the fees.

The result of the Decision
The paper that denied us said that Rachel is not to be admitted in to the country or eligible for any visas. It also said that there are no appeals to this decision. It seems that we were applying for residency in a time when the flow of politics is going against immigrants.

In case you want more specifics: I will paste copies of some email correspondence that deals with these issues below I am writing to a Ms. Cavenaugh, who is an assistant to a US Senator:
Ms. Cavanaugh, please bear with me as I point out a few specifics of this
> case, and I truly believe that you will see inconsistencies in the decision
> made with USCIS policy. Forgive me for the length of the email, but I
> implore you to read it and give it your opinion.
> 1. In our interview, the judge did not take into account our age, health,
> resources & education. She did not write down in the letter she sent back
> with the decision, the fact that I had worked and made over $8,000 dollars
> working in the first four months of 2006, before returning to college in
> May. The only details of income written, were written about my wife.
> (Attatched, you will find the three page letter that was mailed to us with
> the decision. The third page is the one dealing with the specifics of our
> case.) Although, my wife does have a 4 year degree in Cross Cultural
> Communications and Missions, my own education and work experience should
> have been noted or at least taken into consideration. The judge did not
> ask. I have worked in the field of administration for around 9 years. Four
> of those years were as an enlisted Sailor in the United States Navy as a
> personnelman. I was honorably discharged.
> Secondly, The judge ruled that “Though Charissa Joy clancy has submitted
> an affidavit of support in your behalf, it is clear that the support did not
> afford your family the ability to sustain themselves free from public charge
> as evidenced by your inability to submit the required fees for the
> applications for immigration.” However, the term “public charge” is clearly
> defined by the USCIS as cash benefits. Non-cash benefits such as a fee
> waiver shouldn’t be considered “public charge” as it was. To my knowledge,
> I read every bit of information regarding the fee waiver, and no where did
> it mention that this was a benefit that could result in the denial of the
> application or constitute as public charge. If that were the case, it would
> have been better for them to deny the fee waiver at the very beginning of
> our case so that we could re apply.

> Furthermore, if the judge wanted to know if my sister, the co-sponsor was
> in fact a valid co-sponsor, she could have asked. We would have told her
> that after my wife graduated missions college in May 2004, we were married
> and then immediately joined a ministry in San Francisco helping the
> homeless. We ran out of finances after 4 months, and rather than applying
> for any cash assistance, we left CA and moved in to my sister’s apartment
> (the Co-Sponsor). She paid for all of our expenses for that first month. I
> was able to obtain work right away and with my sister’s aid, get back on my
> feet quickly.
> My sister, who is a paralegal by trade, took very seriously the papers
> that she signed and showed a willingness to support us. She also reaffirmed
> that commitment by filling out an updated affadavit of support just prior to
> our going in for our hearing.
> Third, although the guidelines for poverty are $20,112, we were attending
> a college for the last 4 years ( with the exception of our first year of
> marriage, which we took off of school to minister in San Francisco and work
> in Syracuse, NY). As students in this very unique Missionary College, we
> work for 20 hours a week for the school. They have a very low tuition
> ($5000 for the entire four years) and that price includes room and board.
> And, we provided documentation to the judge showing this. As students at
> this school our financial needs are next to nothing. Naturally then, our
> income is going to be substantially less than the poverty level. These are
> the unique circumstances which we found ourselves in when first applying for
> the adjustment of status. We saw that there was a fee waiver available,
> read all of the information about it and decided it was worth at least
> applying for.
> Lastly, Ms. Cavanaugh, my wife and I were taken off guard by the manner
> in which we were interviewed in our final appointment. The judge told us
> right at the beginning that she had some concerns with our application. It
> is now clear that the judge was referring to the fee waiver.
> We have tried to demonstrate by our lives, that we want to be a blessing
> to others in need. We have no desire to be a “public charge” and we are
> pleanty capable of avoiding that. It seems that by definition, we have not
> taken assistance that would be considered “public charge”, nor would we be
> considered “unable” to provide for ourselves. Any help that you could give
> us in this matter is more than appreciated.
> Thank you,
> John Clancy

One Response to “E-letter: U.S. Denies Rachel’s Residency”

  1. FIXEDEYES; John Clancy and Rachel Clancy » Blog Archive » shield of peace
    December 3rd, 2005 14:56

    […] We just heard from a friend who could really identify with some of the struggles that we are going through. As I wrote him, I was really encouraged by some of the things that God brought to mind. I’m posting brief portions of that email. In case you don’t already know, the struggles that we are going through are due to just finding out that we have been denied Rachel’s request to become a permanent resident. You can read some of the details about this in our last update/email newsletter. More will be coming… but, here are some excerts from the email: We too have this feeling of dificulty and yet somehow peace. Rachel described it as if there is an invisible shield around her and within that shield is peace. Yet, just outside of that peace is swirling chaos and confusion, and sometimes that shield seems very thin. Yet, we know that He is our shield. And though we may be able to see the chaos on the other side of Him, we must know that it shall never prevail as long as He stands. And, He does stand… For us, He stands. So, rest my brother in the peace He’s providing for you. The shield will hold, it’s stronger than we could ever comprehend in our minds. He has got you (as well as us) in the Ph.D progam of discipleship bro! He loves us immensely and is bringing us to deeper levels of faith and understanding. Hold on to Him as He continues to send the roots of your faith into the depths of His character and heart. Seek His face out and you will not be dissapointed to what you find. Sharing the knots in your stomach, John and Rachel […]

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