U.S. Government Separates American Husband and Japanese Wife

Posted on June 22, 2007. Filed under: Asian, immigration |

Draconian U.S. immigration policies can lead to life-changing consequences for families. A minor mistake on an immigration form or not filing for the proper visa can lead to arrest, jailing and deportation. Years-long processing times for visas often leave families in limbo. People have the impression that U.S. citizens can bring their foreign-born fiancees or wives to the United States without any problems or difficulties. Sadly, the U.S. government seems to be on a campaign to break up families.

Pacific Citizen reports that a Florida family is living an immigration nightmare.

Some excerpts:

Akiko is accused of committing deception and fraud against the U.S. government because she got married before her fiancée visa had been processed. And after years of appeals and motions to try to rectify the situation – including two failed greencard interviews – Akiko is virtually in “exile” in her native country along with their two U.S.-born sons.

“We’ve been married for nine years, we have kids. There’s no doubt that we’re a legitimate marriage,” said Keith. “We say that family is the backbone of this country but the government is breaking up my family over nothing.”


Keith was in Tokyo, Japan on a business trip when he met Akiko at a local hangout in the Roppongi District. After several months of courtship the two decided to get married and applied for a fiancée visa.

Told by the local U.S. embassy in Japan that the visa would take about three to four months, Keith and Akiko planned their 1998 dream wedding in Hawaii, even allowing for an extra month. But with the wedding date fast approaching and still no visa, they asked the local U.S. embassy for advice.

According to Keith, he and Akiko were told to go ahead with the wedding and simply adjust Akiko’s status from a fiancée visa to a marriage visa after she entered the U.S. That piece of advice has led to nine years of immigration nightmares and ultimately got Akiko kicked out of the country.

“We did what the government told us to do. Their timeline was wrong,” said Keith. “Our initial intent was to get married and our intent is to stay married. There’s no fraud on [Akiko’s] side.”

But after countless hours, three attorneys, and over $10,000 the Campbells’ situation remains grim.

The couple thought they had finally gotten some good news when the local Tampa immigration office recently told them Akiko’s visa petition had been approved. All she had to do was pick up the visa in Japan and re-enter the U.S. But at her visa interview in February, the Tokyo embassy told Akiko her visa application had been rejected and she could not re-enter the U.S. for 10 years.

“It was a Gestapo trick,” said Keith, who accuses USCIS of knowingly deceiving his wife so she would return to Japan. “She left the country under the pretense that she could come back. She couldn’t even pack up her things, she couldn’t even say goodbye.”

Paul Donnelly, a spokesperson for American Families United – a group that works to ensure American immigration laws protect families – believes the only option for the Campbells is a “legislative fix.”

“Those married to American citizens should not be treated less equally,” said Donnelly, who noted that current legislation looking at giving legal status to undocumented illegal immigrants does not provide legal status for those like Akiko.

Support Keith and Akiko Campbell! Support American Families United!


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