An 80-year old Irish woman who has lived in Boston for sixty years was detained at Logan Airport after coming back from a ten-month stay in Ireland, stripped of her green card and could still be placed in deportation proceedings.
The case of Bridie Murphy , originally from Galway, who has two sons serving in the armed forces, one of them currently serving in the Middle East was reported in The Irish Emigrant newspaper.
She had gone back to Ireland to spend time with one of her children who moved there. On her way back she was told her green card was no longer valid because she had stayed out of America too long.
She was traveling alone and was said to be deeply shocked by how she was treated.
Before she left for Ireland she had visited US Citizenship and Immigration Services offices in Boston.
“I was told by them that since I was not going to be out for a full year, I would not need a reentry permit.” she told Kieran O’ Sullivan, Immigration Counselor at the Irish Pastoral Centre in Quincy, MA.
A re-entry permit is issued when a green card holder is leaving the US for up to two years, which Mrs. Murphy never intended to do.
Chris Lavery, an immigration attorney for the Irish Pastoral Centre said:
“Unfortunately, this is an example of overzealous immigration authorities applying the letter of the law in a manner that defies logic. A moment’s thought and compassion could have avoided a great deal of stress and worry for Bridie.”
Mrs. Murphy was later let free but her Green Card was taken from her. Lavery said he will represent her her free of charge at her upcoming hearing. He hopes to have her Green Card handed back.
“I’m very glad that organizations like the Irish Pastoral Centre are there to spot cases like this and help people like Bridie. I am very confident that the Immigration Court will take a very dim view of the immigration authorities for wasting its time with this case.” Lavery told The Irish Emigrant.
Meanwhile he is asks that people who know Bridie Murphy personally, write letters in support of her case. These will be presented to the judge at the hearing.