Letters — 12 January 2019
Dr. David Austin writes US Embassy

Consular Officer Sean Boshard
US Embassy
Belmopan, Belize

Dear Consular Officer Boshard,

Some thoughts after our brief meeting today. I started the petition process for my wife, Margaret Martinez, well over 1 year ago. As you know, the process to obtain an immigrant visa is long and can be arduous, as it was in our case.

As I mentioned to you, my wife and I met with your predecessor before starting the process, and he laid out for us what to expect. He stated his belief that we had a 90% chance of success. Unfortunately, your assessment has put us, for the present, in the 10% group.

We were completely honest and transparent in our application. My wife crossed the border into the US, land of opportunity, illegally at the age of 17. She lived in the US for 25 years, obtained a tax ID number and paid her taxes (but, as you may not know, was not able to file a tax return to recoup any monies that might be due to her). She married a Belizean in the US and mothered 4 US citizens.

Her first husband was abusive to her, and she filed for legal status based on this, which was denied. We married on June 25, 2016. Later that year we moved to Hopkins Village in Belize, where I hoped to work as a doctor while applying for her visa.

According to you, Mr. Boshard, our initial application should have been denied. All of your written reasons for denying Margaret’s application were presented in our initial application. Instead, we were approved at each and every step of the application process, and Margaret was granted an interview with you. At this interview, you did not deny her application; rather, you requested some further documents which we provided.

Apparently these documents did not influence your denial, as there is no mention of them in the assessment of ineligibility which you gave us. You kept us waiting for weeks, and I made innumerable phone calls to the embassy before our meeting today was scheduled.

Unless your attempt was to inflict on us a measure of gentle sadism, I find the whole process incomprehensible.

Perhaps you have a quota of denials to meet to keep your job. I certainly hope not. Though I am a family physician who has committed decades of my life to providing medical care to underserved people in the US, then time in Africa and Haiti with Doctors Without Borders, I have no lofty political connections. I am 100% certain that President Trump, were he a petitioner, would not be denied.

We will start the process of obtaining “relief” (interesting usage of a good word) for our ineligibility, hopeful that someday Margaret will be free to visit her children and innumerable friends in the US, and be eligible to get some legal portion of her tax payment back at the end of her work year.

By the way, the bulk of her work involved caring for the elderly and handicapped in the US. Perhaps you have relatives who might benefit from her services in the future, or perhaps some have already benefited in the past. £

Sincerely,
Dr. David Austin
Hopkins Village, Belize

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