Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Allen v. Milas (9th Cir. - July 24, 2018)

Jerrid Allen is a U.S. citizen and a Major in the United States Army.  He gets deployed to Iraq.  He is stationed in Germany thereafter.  He meets and marries a German woman therein, and they have three (undoubtedly lovely) children.

In 2013, the Army orders Major Allen back to the States.  His wife applies for a visa so she can go to the U.S. with her husband and three children.

But the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department (USCIS) denies her application and says she's not permitted to be with her family.  Because a German court once found her guilty of theft and possession of narcotics.  Fifteen years ago.

Judge Bybee's opinion says that's just fine, and affirms the dismissal of Major Allen's attempt to unite his family.  He end his opinion by saying that the court is "sympathetic to Major Allen’s efforts to unite his family in the United States during his next miliary [sic] assignment."  That seems to me to dramatically understate the point.

Major Allen has actively fought for his country.  He continues to serve; as an officer, no less.  He married a German woman in good faith and had three children with her.  He wants his family to live in the United States, where he continues to serve in the military.  To refuse to allow him to bring his wife with him to the United States alongside his three young children seems ruthlessly harsh to me.  Particularly when the basis for doing so concerns some relatively minor crimes that transpired long ago.

And to say that all that is at stake is the ability to "united [a] family" during someone's "next mili[t]ary assignment" similarly seems to dramatically understate the interests at stake.  Major Allen wants to live with his wife and children in the country in which he is a citizen and which he proudly defends.  It's not merely his "next military assignment."  It's his home.  His country.  He doesn't want to abandon his wife.  He doesn't want his children to be without their mother or father as they grow up.  He doesn't want to quit the military and leave his country in order to be with the woman he loves and the mother of his three children.

That's what's actually at stake.  And, personally, I'm more than just "sympathetic" to his plight.  I'm outraged that the situation is what it is.

Mrs. Allen should receive a visa.  Now.