Deportation from the US threatens the husband of a Muscovite, Tatiana Ryzhov, who died as a result of terrorist attacks in New York on September 11 of last year.
By decision of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, Vasily Ryzhov was denied a residence permit -- a green card -- banned from holding a job, and enjoined to leave US territory after paying a 5,000-dollar fine for violating the visa regime.
Ryzhov's children -- 15-year-old Alexei and 9-year-old Danila -- were allowed to stay in the country, since their presence in the US was found legitimate.
The 36-year-old Tatiana Ryzhov had worked for the British firm Regus, situated on the 93rd floor of the southern tower of the World Trade Centre in New York. The last words her relatives heard from her were a recording on an automatic answer back device with a request not to worry, since the airliner had crashed into the other tall building. The remains of the woman who had burned alive were not identified by DNA analysis until the spring of this year.
Tatiana had entered the United States on a working visa by finding employment with one of the American firms. Upon the expiry of the visa's period, she applied for a green card for herself and for her elder son Alexei, born in Moscow. Her petition was granted and was to have been followed, as a precedent, by a petition to make a similar alteration in the status of her husband. Their younger son Danila, born in the US, was automatically granted American citizenship.
The tragic death of the young woman destroyed everything that the Ryzhov family had achieved in the course of several years they lived in the US. In addition to grief suffered by father and two children, the mother's death called in question the legality of the widowed Vasily Ryzhov's stay in the US, where he had emigrated as a refugee from Georgia.
As a result of Tatiana's death, her husband was denied legalisation on the grounds ... "that there are no grounds". "I was told that if I had been married to the holder of a green card, I too could claim one," Ryzhov told this correspondent. "Since my wife died, I have nothing to do in the US". "The point is I have nowhere in particular to go back -- I left Tbilisi as a refugee, and naturally I am not going to return to Georgia, while regarding Russian citizenship, I do not have it", Ryzhov said.
Perhaps the most glaring thing in the whole situation was depriving the father -- a contract builder and breadwinner for two children -- of the right to work. The family now has to subsist on a benefit paid for the loss of one of the breadwinners and, although the family applied to the fund paying compensation to relatives of September 11 victims at the US Department of Justice, no relief came although more than a year passed after the tragic September events.
Now, according to Ryzhov, his lawyers are pressing for a review of the decision, for which they are given 30 days. Vasily himself does not place excessive hopes on a positive outcome. "What can be expected from a department which half a year after the terrorist attacks extended the American visas of terrorist hijackers, while expelling from the country the father of two children left motherless after September 11?" he says.