Gross: Immigration services threatens deportation over department’s error

Jul 14, 2023, 6:07 PM | Updated: Jul 15, 2023, 10:52 am

immigration services...

Thami and Jeremy with their children (Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

A couple living in Sammamish believes that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is holding a grudge against those who are unvaccinated. Thami, originally from Brazil, and her husband, Jeremy, have been fighting against the agency while trying to secure citizenship status but faced continual roadblocks and now she is facing the threat of deportation.

Thami had been in the county on a tourist visa since 2018. She wanted to extend her stay to continue learning English. The couple married in November 2020 and just a few months later began the legal immigration process.

Understandably, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the administrative processes. Thami was also asked to submit medical records as a part of her application.

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“Through this whole process, and her experience as a food scientist and food engineer, she has learned to use nature as the thing that helps you get over things and protect your body and doesn’t really believe in vaccines,” Jeremy told The Jason Rantz Show on AM 770 KTTH.

Thami was able to apply for a vaccine exemption. The submitted paperwork came with a cost of more than $1,000. Two months later, they were informed by USCIS that the form was sent to the wrong place. A USCIS case officer was also believed to have erred on the form, checking a box to indicate that Thami did in fact take the vaccine. The miscommunication led case officers to believe that the couple was not being honest about their intentions.

Jeremy said they were told she did not have the “credibility” to file an exemption due to the mix-up.

“They were basically calling her a liar,” Jeremy said.

After another month passed, the couple found out the exemption had been denied. An appeal of the ruling can be filed, but only after a payment of another $700. USCIS also informed the couple that Thami could face deportation and even set a 33-day clock. However, the couple has since filed an appeal and asked for a waiver of the fee.

“I feel like we’re being extorted or we’re paying bribes,” Jeremy said. “These people are just doing this to all the immigrants … if you don’t fall into line with exactly what they want, they just keep denying, or doing things to find something wrong, and making you pay more money just to get through the process.”

Jeremy and Thami have sought help from many different places. They have repeatedly heard that USCIS rarely overturns decisions.

“I hope they can see their mistake,” Thami said. “And let me stay here. I don’t want to be away from my family.”

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The ridiculousness of this situation is accentuated when you take a simple look at the calendar. Thami started her immigration process in January 2021. The state had not even implemented a vaccine requirement until October 2021. Thami has done exactly what you are supposed to do. She is pursuing legal citizenship. She is pursuing educational and business opportunities. She is valued member of the community by so many. Yet, somehow the system is failing her.

The couple continues to exhaust all options to try to keep their family together. Thami is the definition of the ‘American Dream’ and would be an absolute failure on so many accounts if she is not allowed to stay in the country.

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Gross: Immigration services threatens deportation over department’s error