Paradise Lost

Tim Hogan is fighting to get his family out of a bureaucratic no-man's land

Durbin's office was more helpful. "I think it's a humanitarian issue," says Kappy Scapes, a spokeswoman for the senator. "Senator Durbin wants to help in any way that he can -- that doesn't mean that he can help, but he wants to help."

Hogan and his wife shouldn't hold their breath, says the USCIS's Strassburger. "Given the fact that they have been married and just didn't get around to [applying for an immigrant visa] until now probably doesn't weigh too heavily in their favor," says Strassburger, who adds that the Nebraska visa-processing center that will handle their application is currently processing applications submitted in October 2003. "The real problem is that they should have filed an immigrant visa as soon as they were married."

Though Ryan is healthy, Hogan says his own financial situation is untenable. Earning just $300 a week, Hogan says his income is tightly stretched between paying for daycare and sending money to his wife and daughter. On November 5, he says, he plans to board a plane to Honduras, drop off his son so his wife can care for him, then return to United States.

It's not the best plan in the world, but he says it's the only option available to him. "I can't help but blame this on my government," Hogan says. "I feel as though my government is robbing me of my wife and my family. Protecting the country is one thing. Separating me and my family is another."

Animosity toward the federal government aside, Hogan says he now has no plans of settling in Honduras.

"I was more or less told: 'You better be damn grateful he's alive and not allow that situation to occur again,'" Hogan says. "The only way I know how to do that is to stay in the United States, find a good job and raise my family here."

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