MARINE WIDOW NOW A US RESIDENT AS OBAMA SIGNS LAW
As reported in the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Japanese widow of a fallen Marine can now legally immigrate to the United States with the couple’s 22 month old son. President Barack Obama signed a private bill into law on Wednesday granting lawful permanent residency to Hotaru “Hota” Ferschke, the wife of Marine Sgt. Michael Ferschke, a Maryville soldier killed in Iraq in 2008.
Reporter Michael Collins for the Sentinel wrote of her quest to raise the couple’s son in the U.S. stating Hotaru Ferschke has been trying to fulfill her husband’s wishes to raise their 22-month-old, Mikey, in East Tennessee. She and her marine husband met while he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and they dated for more than a year. Shortly before his death, Hota discovered she was pregnant. The couple married over the telephone while he was in Iraq and she in Japan but Sgt. Ferschke was killed on Aug. 10, 2008.
Because their marriage was not recognized under US immigration law she was denied a permanent visa making it impossible for her to move to the US with their son. Sgt. Fershke’s mother went public with the dilemma spurring U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr.,(R-Knoxville) and other members in Congress to intervene through a private bill. The bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama paving the way for her to legally immigrate to the U.S as the couple hoped.