A local family trying to solve a complicated immigration puzzle they hope will bring their son home from Costa Rica has gotten some answers, but those came with more questions.
“Every piece of information brings us another decision,” said Mike Womack.
An immigration office appointment last week saw the family approved to stay in America.
“If they had said no, my whole family would have been moving out of the country,” said Mike Womack, whose wife and children from a previous marriage immigrated from Costa Rica. “One of our prayers was answered. Our whole family gets to stay here.”
Still there were catches with the approval. First, the stay is temporary and secondly, they have to repeat medical examinations by and immigration department approved physician in this country.
That poses a little bit of a problem for the couple’s son, Ruben, who went to be with is biological father during the summer but, Womack said, the father failed to honor an agreement to return the child.
Obviously, Ruben was not at the immigration meeting last week.
“I didn’t lie, I just didn’t volunteer information,” Womack said of last week’s immigration decision that granted the family a window of time.
Since the father informed the Womacks he would be keeping Ruben, the family managed to reacquire the child, but without his passport. The father, reportedly, proceeded to destroy it.
Ruben and his mother, who has been forced to make multiple trips back the U.S. have moved around a lot in hopes of preventing the father from kidnapping his son, Womack said.
There was also a pending court date in Costa Rica but, Womack said, he has learned through his attorney there that the court dismissed both his family’s and the father’s claims against the other and set another court date of Dec. 12.
That’s another problem because the passport is set to expire in October and the deadline for having the medical examinations is in accordance with the temporary residency granted on Tuesday expires on Dec. 20.
The repeated visits to Costa Rica, attorney fees, costs of lost business with his Kona Ice truck, and such is taking a toll on the family too, which is why Womack recently reached out for help.
“The irony is I make my money helping people raise money and (raising money) is a lot more difficult that it looks,” he said. “We have the medical visits, having to maintain two places, attorney fees here. I need to hire an immigration lawyer here but I can’t afford it.
“It’s getting more and more difficult.”
If all the date issues, and money issues can somehow be resolved Womack hopes his son can complete the two year residency, apply for another residency stretch, then apply for citizenship in what, by then, will have been a five-year journey.
A Gofundme campaign has been started entitled “Bring Ruben back to the US” and can be found at gofundme.com.