Look into denied visitor visa for Abigail Betene's Cameroonian grandmother
  • Petitioned Al Franken

This petition was delivered to:

Mn US Senators
Al Franken
Minnesota
Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Look into denied visitor visa for Abigail Betene's Cameroonian grandmother

    1. Mark Therrien
    2. Petition by

      Mark Therrien

      Laupahoehoe, HI

  1.  
  2.   
July 2012

Victory

Grandma Christine got her visa today!!!!! Yippee! She will soon get to hold baby Abigail. Thank you all for your support. We are very grateful. We don't know why this time, but this is great becAUe by returning to Cameroon in September, she should be able to get one again in the future - "See, I told you I was coming back and I did." Thank you. Thank you. Aloha, Mark

Your letters of support asked for due consideration. We do not believe that was given.


On June 4, 2012 our daughter, Kate Therrien Betene’s mother-in-law appeared before the consular officer in the US Cameroon Embassy. Her five-minute interview consisted of three questions. One was repeated three times: “How did your son, Claude Betene, get to the US? “ The other two were”Who is paying for your trip?” and “Do you have minor children at home?”


Our daughter’s husband came to the U.S. in a completely legal way. He has a Green Card and is finishing a Masters in Public Health at the University of Minnesota. He twice came to the U.S. on a visitor visa during their three-year engagement and on both occasions returned to Africa in accordance with the law. My daughter is an engineer at Hennepin County Medical Center and seven weeks ago they had their first child, a baby girl, Abigail.
Mrs. Aligui, like any new grandmother, is anxious to see her first and new granddaughter. She is a pre-school teacher in Cameroon, so she wants to come on her vacation to see the baby. My daughter and her husband are paying for her trip.


Her file contained a letter from her principal allowing her to take summer vacation. It included a letter from the Governor of her province stating that as a public employee she is allowed to leave the country on a visitor visa. Also included were the certificate of property ownership (for three homes) and the birth certificates and school enrollment forms of her 7 year-old and 12 year-old minor children. In addition, she had her marriage certificate and a letter from her husband approving the trip and confirming that she will come back.


At the conclusion of the five-minute interview, her request was denied because in accordance with Immigration and Naturalization Act she had not shown the consular officer that her trip to the U.S. would be temporary or that she had enough money in her bank account to pay for the trip.


Mrs. Aligui is upstanding and loyal citizen of Cameroon. She has a husband, elderly mother, and two young children in Cameroon. She has a longstanding job and provided proof of property ownership. She just wants to come see her new granddaughter.


If a woman of Mrs. Aligui’s stature cannot get a visitor visa there is something wrong in the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon. We petition you to please look more deeply into this unfair denial. Time is of the essence as her summer vacation will only last a short time and we would like her to still be able to come this summer. It is obvious to all of us signing this petition - and should have been obvious to the consular officer - that Mrs. Aligui does not pose a “non-return” risk. Please do what you can to correct this injustice.


Sincerely,
Mark and Rae Therrien and many concerned fellow citizens

The photo is of Rae, Kate and Christine

Recent signatures

    News

    1. She got the visa today!

      Mark Therrien
      Petition Organizer

      Grandma Christine got her visa today!!!!! Yippee! She will soon get to hold baby Abigail. Thank you all for your support. We are very grateful. We don't know why this time, but this is great because by returning to Cameroon in September, she should be able to get one again in the future - "See, I told you I was coming back and I did."

      Thank you. Thank you.

      Aloha,
      Mark

    2. new interview July 6

      Mark Therrien
      Petition Organizer

      Christine has a second chance on July 6. Both Senators are again writing letters of support to give "due consideration". Prayers and positive energy for this lovely lady are welcome. The petition remains open for more signatures. Thank you to everyone of you.
      Aloha,
      Mark and Rae

    3. Reached 750 signatures
    4. We are at 745! Latest update

      Mark Therrien
      Petition Organizer

      Senator Klobuchar's office did not respond to my phone call at all. Senator Franken's office told me they were told that because Kate and Claude were paying for her ticket that was why Christine was denied. Is it so wrong for a son to pay for his mother to come see Abigail?
      While I was just writing an email to Senator Klobuchar's aide, Rae burst out crying at her computer. She was reading one of the recent "comments". I have told you Christine has a 7 and an 11 year children, but she also has a son Justin 25 years old, who had just signed and posted this comment: Justin Bienvenue Abouem A Meri,Yaounde,,CMR,Cameroon,2012-06-18,"Christine is my mother, I know she will come back. "
      So we are left to weep. The petition is still open for signatures. What I meant last night was I wouldn't ask again for you to contact others to sign.

    5. We are at 526

      Mark Therrien
      Petition Organizer

      Amazing to hear so many stories of grandmothers denied visitor visas. Some people have just given up. They apply and get denied, apply and get denied (@$140 per application). Not an easy amount for many non-Americans to come up with over and over.

      We have signatures from people from Eygpt, Israel, France, Congo, Senegal, Australia, Micronesia. if you would like to see the comments list ask me at: mark@banananose.com and I can send it to you as an attachment. Thank you all.

      Kate and Claude have just filled out the new application and we are hopeful that Senator Klobuchar can get them an early appointment for another try where hopefully they get a consular officer with a brain and a heart. We have heard such good things about Senator Klobuchar so we are hopeful she can help at least to get an appointment soon, because as a teacher she must be back in Cameroon for school in September.

    6. Reached 500 signatures
    7. We're at 467!

      Mark Therrien
      Petition Organizer

      We want to thank Senator Klobuchar's for inquiring of the embassy more specific reasons for the denial. The embassy seems to be saying they denied because they believe she has closer ties in the US than in Cameroon and therefore poses a "no return" risk. It is just so STUPID. Is one son and a granddaughter in Minneapolis stronger ties in the US than her own seven year old and 11 year old children in Cameroon, her husband, her home, her job of 20 years, her elderly mother? It is so incredibly obvious that they did not give due consideration the "totality" of the applicant's situation. I am so angry and part of me cannot help but wonder that if Claude was a white man from Germany or Great Britain and Christine was the white grandmother from one of those countries if the "totality" of her situation would have been assessed differently. I did not want to believe that racism could be a factor, but given real and obvious totality of Christine's situation, I cannot see another possibility.

    8. Please post the petition on your Facebook page with a few words of support.

      Mark Therrien
      Petition Organizer

      Your comments have brought Rae and I to tears. Thank you so much.

    9. A giant thank you to all who signed!

      Mark Therrien
      Petition Organizer

      Sen. Klobuchar's office actually called Kate this morning to say they will try to get more specific reasons. Please send the petition on to five more people who might sign. We have 250 signatures. Each time someone signs both senators get an email. The more they get the harder is not to pay attention.

      Kate wrote: "As Abigail's mother, it pains me to know that her grandmother is prevented from seeing her due to a flawed immigration system. Had due consideration been granted, Christine's honest answers and the plethora of documents we spent months collecting would have proven her desire and imperative to return to Cameroon at the end of her visit. Instead, we have spent hours trying to console her and explain that it is not her fault or anything she did, since the only thing she did was honestly answer the questions asked of her. Please do what is in your power to advocate for her case to be extended every courtesy and consideration consistent with US laws and regulations."

    10. Reached 250 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Ruth Dauffenbach-Kotrba FOREST LAKE, MN
      • over 2 years ago

      I know the baby's father from the Minnesota Department of Health and he is an honorable man.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Cedric Djeundji QUEBEC, CANADA
      • over 2 years ago

      it is non sense to refuse a visa to a grandma who just wants to see her grand child. what would u do if someone refuse you the right to see ur children, daughter in law, and more critically grandchild? human rights...

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kathleen Dirrenberger PORTAGE, MI
      • over 2 years ago

      Mrs. Aligui has provided more than adequate information that she is an upstanding person and a devoted mother, wife and preschool teacher. She has a husband and minor children in Cameroon and has no intention of staying in this country. Now that she is a new grandmother, she should be allowed to see her new granddaughter. Please allow her to have this very special time with her new grandbaby.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Deborah Russell HILO, HI
      • over 2 years ago

      There is no reason for this Grandma not to be able to see her newborn grand daughter for a short visit.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Anne Farrell PAPAALOA, HI
      • over 2 years ago

      I believe that sometimes bad decisions are sometimes made by well meaning people trying to do a decent job in a difficult world. I truly hope that this decision will be reversed.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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