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11/24/2008
00:18 AM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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'60 Minutes' Looks At 'Widow Penalty' In Immigration Law

Last night, 60 Minutes reported on a group of hundreds of American widows fighting a U.S. government effort to deport them from this country. These women (and a few men) are citizens of foreign countries who married American citizens, but their spouses died before their residency applications were completed. InformationWeek covered this story in June; one of the widow

Last night, 60 Minutes reported on a group of hundreds of American widows fighting a U.S. government effort to deport them from this country. These women (and a few men) are citizens of foreign countries who married American citizens, but their spouses died before their residency applications were completed. InformationWeek covered this story in June; one of the widows fighting for her residency is a prominent Second Life artist named Eshi Otawara.

The artist, whose real-life name is Irena Morris, is a Croatian immigrant who lives in Florida. Her American husband died suddenly, when they'd been married less than two years, while her application for residency was in progress. According to U.S. immigration law, the application is automatically rejected once the American spouse dies. Morris received formal notification from U.S. immigration authorities last week that her application was terminated, and she's ready to be deported from the U.S. at any moment.

"The two years of my life since my husband passed away were one big pot of fear and financial insecurity," Morris said in a telephone interview with InformationWeek. "I lost my house, I lost everything except my cat, my husband's car and the free, open road."

Her case suffered a setback a few weeks later.

Morris is still in America, and still trying to win permanent residency.

Morris isn't featured in this segment, which focuses on several other widows with similar problems, and also Brent Renison, an attorney who did work for Morris. Watch the 11-minute 60 Minutes report here:

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