Both Houses of Congress have approved a rare private bill for Hotaru Ferschke, the Japanese widow of Sgt. Michael Ferschke who hailed from my home state of Tennessee. This is only the second private bill approved in the last five years.
The Ferschkes were married in July 2008 in a proxy ceremony conducted over the telephone, a common practice for soldiers and one that is recognized by the Department of Defense, because Michael was deployed in Iraq at the time. One month later, Michael was killed in action. Hotaru was pregnant with Michael's son at the time he left his military base in Okinawa, but because the couple never saw each other after the wedding, the Department of Homeland Security has refused to recognize the marriage.
The problem has now been solved and Hotaru and her son can now join her husband's family. But they were in the predicament because Congress couldn't come up with a bill they could agree on to prevent this from happening again. Add that to a long list of problems we have in the immigration system that Congress has once again punted to the future.