Swift longs for the day he will be reunited with family

Swift longs for the day he will be reunited with family John Swift, a teacher at Vermillion Middle School who is now living on his grandfather's farm near Gayville, is longing for the day that he will be reunited with his wife, Naneth, and their 16-month-old daughter, Kelly. Swift met his wife in 1998 while he was teaching science at Cabu International School, located at Cabu City, Philippines. He now finds himself struggling through reams of red tape as he tries to arrange for Naneth, a native of the Philippines, to immigrate to the United States. by David Lias This is supposed to be a happy time for John Swift. He started a new job this fall as a sixth-grade science teacher at Vermillion Middle School.

And over two years ago, he fell in love, and was married. He and his wife Naneth are the parents of a 16-month-old daughter, Kelly.

The only way he can see images of his wife and daughter, however, is by leafing through stacks of photographs.

Naneth and Kelly are stuck in the Philippines, entangled in red tape caused by an overworked and slow-acting bureaucracy.

John has desperately been trying to complete all the necessary paperwork and fulfill other requirements that will allow Naneth, a native of the Philippines, to reside in the United States. It�s a process that is filled with unimaginable frustration.

John, who at one time raised vegetables organically on his grandfather�s farm near Gayville, traveled to Cabu City, Philippines more than two years ago to teach sixth-grade science at Cabu International School.

�Not long after I arrived there, a friend introduced me to Naneth, and soon we were dating,� John said. �We were married Feb. 14, 1998, on Valentine�s Day.�

After Kelly was born, John went to the local consulate in July 1998. His contract to teach school in the Philippines was going to end in May 1999, and he wanted to get a start on the procedures he needed to complete so that Naneth and Kelly could travel home to the U.S. with him when his job at the Philippines ended.

�I asked the guy, ?What do we need to do, because when my contract ends in May of �99, I want to take my family with me to the States.��

The consulate official said John should first register Kelly as being a foreign-born citizen, and get her passport.

�I did that, but for some reason it took until December to get, and it was with the local embassy in Manila,� John said. �In retrospect, I found out I could have applied for my wife�s immigrant visa, which is the problem now, simultaneously.�

He didn�t get her immigration visa paperwork sent to the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Nebraska until December 1998 and they sent it back because there was a fee increase in October 1998 that he was unaware of.

�Keep in mind every time they send it back, it takes about one month in the mail processing time for these oversized letters,� John said. �About that time, because I was beginning to panic over whether it would get done by May, I enlisted the help of Sen. Tom Daschle�s office.�

He believes Daschle�s office has helped him with his plight. The paperwork was approved in Feb. 25 in Nebraska, and was sent to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire.

�They handle all of the visas in the world,� he said. �By the sheer volume of it, it�s an overtaxed system.�

Beginning in May of this year, John has been struggling to meet all of the center�s demands and properly fill out all of the forms he has received. He has had to fill out an affidavit of support form, provide tax records for the last three years, contracts and other documents that indicate an ability to support a wife and family.�

�I got all of that, to the best of my ability, filled out and sent it back in early May,� he said.

What�s frustrating, he said, is that authorities always seem to be able to eventually find something wrong with the paperwork. So they send it back to either him, or to his wife, which takes a month just in the mail.

�It would be better for the process if they could find all of the mistakes at once, and they were really petty and small things,�John said.

Meanwhile, his daughter is beginning to learn how to walk and talk. The stress of a 9-week separation is being felt by both Naneth and John.

�It�s just so hard to be separated from them,� he said. �We just hope this can be resolved.�

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