Couple sees end to immigration snarl

INCLINE VILLAGE - After a 10-month battle to be together in the United States, Ali and Melanie Amiri are riding a wave of euphoria.

Ali's petition to the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals was reissued, they were told by their attorney on Aug. 8.

"We have to respond by filing all the paperwork by Sept. 7," Melanie wrote in a recent e-mail.

The couple has come a long way since October 2004, when immigration officials put Ali, a native Iranian into an immigration jail in Marysville, Calif. At the time, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement threatened to deport Ali, who feared for his life should that happen.

Subsequent charges involved the validity of their marriage, which later was overturned. Ali was released from jail in January, just after the couple's second anniversary. An uncle had posted $40,000 bail.

Ali's appeal was granted partially because of his claim that a previous attorney had been ineffective.

"We were really excited to hear we have a good chance of Ali being able to stay here in America," she wrote. "The attorney said it should all be a matter of paperwork now."

She wrote that her husband is still under ICE custody, and has to check in with the agency once a month. He has a work permit and a temporary driver's license, which Ali could renew for a year as a result of his new immigration status.

"We hope that means things will be peaceful for a little while," Melanie wrote.

She is grateful for support and prayers from family members and friends, and Ali especially expressed gratitude for those who helped Melanie during his incarceration.

"Our persistence is beginning to pay off," Melanie wrote.

After Ali was set free, they moved from Incline to Reno.

Although they have come a long way, Melanie said they hardly dare hope it's all over.

"We have been through so much, it's hard to get too excited until it actually works out," she wrote.


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