Blow a court date? Get deported


Plans to add "get the hell out" to Lady Liberty's inscription are currently mired in red tape.

She's a college graduate. She's a married 29 year old woman. And two weeks, she might be deported.

Hoa Nguyen entered the country legally 10 years ago on a student visa, earning a degree from Luther College and another (a master's) at the University of Minnesota. But after flaking on a deadline to file for a green card, she was arrested, and now faces deportation within the next two weeks, despite the fact that the deportation would separate her from her husband (an American citizen) for 1 to 5 years.

Failing to file was clearly a boo boo. But Nguyen certainly didn't expect to end up shackled in a Sherburne County jail cell. Nor did she expect to hear that, despite her marriage to a U.S. citizen, a judge refused to re-open her case.

The trouble arose in February of this year, when Nguyen and her husband Dan Hanson attempted to re-enter the country after a trip to Nguyen's home country of Vietnam. She was a Ph.D. student, studying French literature, but was on a break for her marriage proceedings.

Whoopsie--customs refused to recognize her student visa, insisted she file for a green card. And that's where Nguyen slipped. A day after the August deadline passed, immigration agents came knocking.

As you can imagine, the internet is swinging to her possibile rescue. A website has been erected to raise awareness of Nguyen's plight, which has instructions about writing legislators and making donations to her defense fund.

Now, if we can all pause and imagine what might happen to city hall if we raised hell every time THEY fudged some paperwork. Hmm.