I was glad to see that Ed had an update on this immigration case in today's Gazette. I wrote about this case in 2001, as part of a series of pieces on abuses by immigration authorities in Montana. The fascinating part was the admission by what was then the Immigration and Naturalization Service that it had erred initially in allowing Mr. Zirotti a visa. Then, after allowing him up to uproot his family and move to America, devoting himself to building a risky and irreplaceable business, the INS decided to correct its error and send him back overseas.
Money quote, from INS attorney Ann Tanke: "If you're not very familiar with our administrative process that may seem horrible." No kidding.
Most of what I wrote proceeded from my pursuit of the Wolfgang von Eitzen case. There are too many stories about that to link them all, but this may serve as a summary. I still hear from von Eitzen now and again, and he is still fighting from Germany. He will never win.
I thought his case was about as clear-cut an instance of American injustice as I have ever encountered. Longtime resident, American family, straightforward in his INS dealings. Some people say, well, the law's the law, but that isn't true. At the time von Eitzen was deported, INS rules specifically allowed authorities to overlook technical violations in the interest of simple justice to people who had deep roots in the United States and who had tried to jump through all the hoops.
As in the case Ed described in the Gazette, the government's conduct was loathsome and inexcusable. Congress' bipartisan failure to fix the problem is a disgrace.