Bring the Chen Family Home
Bring the Chen Family Home
We would like to bring your attention to the challenging circumstances of an honest and caring family who has lived in Rochester, Minnesota, since 2017. We know this family well, and hopefully, with your help, this family can return to their home in the United States.
In April, the family’s visa expired due to slow processing as a result of the pandemic, and they temporarily had to relocate to Mexico awaiting their visa renewal. This process, which is usually fast enough to never have to leave the United States, has lasted four months, leaving this family stranded without income in a foreign country where they do not know the language. They expected to be gone a week, and it has been nearly four months.
Dr. Tingjun Chen works at Mayo clinic as a neuroscientist who performs research, which has revealed groundbreaking new mechanisms of neurodegeneration disease that holds the potential to lead to new therapeutics.
Chunhua (Kate) is a caring wife and mother, and works in our community as a preschool teacher. She's also a loving and amazing neighbor, and cleared our sidewalk of snow for two full winters - once when we became new parents, and a year later when I faced a debilitating autoimmune disease. She has sent us fresh vegetables from her garden, checks in on us, and always has a smile and a wave.
Their daughter, Jiaxuan (Daisy), is a middle school student. She has an impressive talent for drawing and making animations (she even has a YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTVHBxvRAhs and she has a lot of friends in Rochester. She has a strong sense of justice, and always tries to protect her classmates (and not just her friends) whenever she sees bullying. Her morals and character are a reflection of her family’s values, and an extension of their love for others.
It was disheartening to hear how leaving their home has created extreme hardships for this family. When their visas expired and could not be quickly renewed, the pandemic had made it impossible for them to travel back to their country of origin, forcing them to seek refuge in Guadalajara, Mexico, as they awaited their visa interview. Before they left for their visa interview, the Chen family regularly sent financial support back to China to support Chunhua’s mother’s treatments for liver cancer. The unexpected delay in Guadalajara drained the family’s income, so they could not continue funding her medications. This led to Chunhua’s mother passing away as a result of her cancer this past July. The tragedy of her passing has brought great agony to this family as they mourn in a foreign place.
Because they are parted from their work, they are living on limited funds in a country where they do not have a support network and face a significant language barrier. They wait, day after day, for the news that they can return to their home, their jobs, and their friends in Rochester. Daisy fears that she will not be able to begin the new school year on time, and will miss out on learning and seeing her friends. She is trapped in a foreign country with no one to spend her time with, and now these circumstances threaten her academic progress. Tingjun’s research is stalled by this delay, and threatens his progress in finding new medical answers that may provide breakthroughs to help countless Americans. Chunhua must mourn away from the comfort of their home. Their mortgage, loans, and other expenses are threatened every day that they spend in a foreign country, diminishing their savings. In the shadow of fear of losing their home, cars, friends, and as they mourn the loss of family, the Chens suffer desperately, and hold onto the hope that their lives will be returned to them.
As neighbors, the Chen family have always shown us respect, cared for us, and have been ready to help if help was ever needed. As coworkers, they are amazing team members and project leaders. This family upholds the very foundations of American values in their everyday lives: liberty, independence, equality, and unity. We, the neighbors, colleagues, and friends, care for this family, and wish the best for them.
We would like to show our support for this family by requesting expedited processing to accelerate their visa applications. They are good people, and have suffered too much already. Please, bring them home!
We're also asking that any financial support or donations go through https://gofund.me/a559cbbb as this will funnel funds directly to the family. They need and will use these funds to survive, and to continue the process of trying to get home.