[Congressional Record: October 9, 2002 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
RELIEF FOR VICTIMS OF SEPTEMBER 11
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, in the USA PATRIOT Act, we provided
temporary immigration relief for lawful nonimmigrants who are survivors
of the September 11 attacks. This relief ended last month, and it has
proved to be too short. A single year is not sufficient time for these
families to sort out their affairs before returning to their native
Senator Corzine has introduced legislation to help these people, most
of whom are the spouses and children of H-1B and other highly skilled
temporary workers killed in the terrorist attacks. S. 2845 would allow
these family members to remain in the United States for an additional
year to deal with the very real challenges these families face.
They have been in mourning for a year. Many have not recovered the
remains of their loved ones and are waiting for DNA analyses of the
samples collected from the attack site. Some families have children
enrolled in American schools. Many of these families are still waiting
for awards from the Victims' Compensation Fund. Some have homes that
must be sold or other financial matters that need to be settled. Many
of them are participating in support groups with other September 11
survivors groups that simply do not exist in their native lands.
Consider the case of Tessie Forsythe. Tessie's husband Christopher
for Cantor Fitzgerald. He had an H-1B visa, which expired in April. The
rest of the family received H-4 visas, so their lawful status in the
U.S. was dependent on him.
Christoper left behind two children Jose and Kirsten. Tessie is not
Kirsten's mother, but she is seeking to adopt Kirsten because Kirsten's
birth mother has had extensive mental health problems and has no
contact with Kirsten. The judicial process began in the United States,
and if the family leaves the country now, the adoption proceeding could
be jeopardized. In addition, shortly after her husband's death, Tessie
was mugged and hospitalized for 3 months with extensive injuries.
Christopher's remains have not been recovered, though DNA samples
from Kirsten have been submitted and are being analyzed. Like many of
the survivors, Tessie has not yet received an award from the Victims'
Consider the case of Sonia Gawas. Her husband Ganesh Ladkat was also
employed by Cantor Fitzgerald. The couple had been married just 9
months when the terrorist attacks killed Ganesh. Sonia suffers from a
condition know as ``delayed grief,'' where the death of a loved one is
not accepted until long after the event took place. In this case,
without any remains or proof that here husband was dead, Sonia's
grieving period did not begin until it became clear to her that Ganesh
was in fact a victim of the attack. Acceptance of his death plunged
Sonia into a severe depression.
The catastrophic nature of the terrorist attacks had made the
recovery process far more difficult. Sonia is receiving counseling and
attends support groups that are not available in her native country.
This unusually long grieving period has taken a toll on Sonia's ability
to make arrangements for her return. She is still waiting to receive
compensation from the Victims' Fund.
These brave families should not have to face the specter of
deportation while still in the process of grieving for their loved ones
and settling their affairs. An additional year will provide an
opportunity to attend to their affairs and undertake the sad task of
dismantling their lives in the United States. We need to help these
deserving families by enacting this legislation as soon as possible, so
that these families will not face deportation.
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