I do what I do because I do not want anyone else to have the problems in their immigration process that my wife and I had. On December 30, 1988, my wife and I got married in Honduras. At that time, I was in the U.S. Air Force, working at the joint U.S. and Honduran base, as well as out of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa. My wife was working out of the base as a pharmacy technician for the United States Army. She was one of the first civilian employees hired by the base. We had to jump through many hoops because of our positions on the base. We had mandatory interviews with the base chaplain, a medical doctor from the hospital and the finance officer. These were all people who knew my wife and me, and thought very highly of both of us. Once we overcame these obstacles, we then had permission to marry from the U.S. military.
Why I do what I do – Problems with the Embassy
While working in the embassy, I mentioned to one of my State Department counterparts that Griselda and I were going to be getting married shortly. My friend mentioned that I should go across the street and talk to a consulate officer about the whole visa process. So, I casually walked across the street into the consulate and knocked on the door of the consulate officer. As I worked out of the embassy, I had almost no dealing with anyone in the consulate. I introduced myself to the consulate officer and told him that I was about to marry a Honduran national and I needed to know what paperwork he needed to give us the visa. This consulate officer then explained to me the visa process and how I should expect it to take anywhere from six months to two years. I explained to the officer that we would need the visa much faster than that, as my tour in Honduras was going to be up in a couple of months and I needed my wife to go with me back to the States. The consulate officer looked me straight in the eye and said that the only way I would get the visa in that amount of time would be to pay him $500. I thanked him for his time and walked back across the street to the embassy.
Now, the office from which I worked at the U.S. Embassy is the regional security office. At that time, I was the noncommissioned officer in charge of VIP protection. The people I worked with from the State Department were diplomatic security officers. I went straight to one of my partners and explained to him that the consulate officer just tried to shake me down for $500 in order to get my wife her visa in time. My partner said to follow him, and we quickly jogged back over to the consulate. Due to the nature of our jobs, we were required to be armed at all times, but we were also expected to keep our weapons concealed. My partner was so upset that he went jogging across the street with all of his weapons in plain view. We want straight into the consulate officer’s room, where the diplomatic security officer, using small words, explained that as long as my wife was eligible to receive a visa she would receive that visa prior to my rotation back to the United States. And if for any reason that visa was to be delayed because of bureaucratic processes, that consulate officer could expect to have severe repercussions.
My wife was eligible and she was issued the visa in time to rotate back to the States with me.
Why I do what I do – Problems with Immigration
Now, fast forward two years and it is time to file for my wife’s 10-year green card. Our lives were very busy at this point. Our son was born in 1989, both my wife and I were working full-time in our civilian jobs, I was going to school at night to try to get my degree, and I was working one weekend a month and two weeks out of the year for the National Guard.
At the end of 1990, my National Guard unit was called to active duty and sent overseas in support of operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. One evening, while standing guard mount, my sergeant handed me a letter stating that the United States government was going to deport my wife because I failed to attend a hearing immigration had scheduled. It is true that I did not attend the hearing. The reason I didn’t attend the hearing is because I was overseas as part of Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
I explained to my sergeant the letter I had and went over to speak to the base Judge Advocate General (military lawyer). There was nobody in this lawyer’s tent, but the lawyer and me. The lawyer told me he was too busy to see me and that I should come back another day. At the time I was standing in the lawyer’s tent, I had one M-16 rifle with 240 rounds of ammunition, an M2 03 grenade launcher attached to the rifle with 18 rounds of high explosive ammunition, and a 9 mm pistol with at least two magazines of ammunition. I explained to the lawyer that he did not have anything more important to deal with at that moment than me. I showed him the letter I received and asked for a letter from him to send to the immigration court so my wife would not be deported. I still have a copy of this letter.
The letter simply states that staff Sgt. Geygan is currently serving overseas in a classified location in support of operation Desert Shield. We cannot tell you where he is, we cannot tell you when he will be coming back, and we cannot tell you what he is doing. Please don’t deport his wife. The deportation case against my wife was closed.
Shortly after I returned to the United States, my wife and I had an interview at the local immigration office. The immigration officer was very rude and disrespectful. And because of this, I’m sorry to say, I lost my temper. I love and care for my wife very much, and anyone who disrespects her in my presence is doing so at their own peril. I stood up and told the officer that she needed to treat my wife with all the respect that she deserved, that we were in a legitimate marriage and she could ask all the questions she wanted, but she needed to do so in a respectful manner. My wife received her 10-year green card and has since become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
I have been an immigration attorney since May 1998. The reason I became an immigration attorney, and the reason I am still an immigration attorney, is because I love and care for my wife and I do not want anyone else to be mistreated by an indifferent government process. If you would like my help with your immigration case please call my office at 513-791-1673 or click here to schedule your appointment online.