MIDWEST CITY, Okla. - Sandra Compton doesn't know how much longer she has to live.
“I'm scared I'm not going to see my husband again,” she said in tears.
Sandra’s in Oklahoma, undergoing intensive rounds of chemotherapy, and she's all by herself, because her British husband, Dave, who is also an Army veteran, is stuck in the U.K. The U.S. Government denied his visa and won't let him come back to the U.S.
“My wife is suffering, and I feel terrible and I feel helpless when I should be there holding her hand and supporting her,” he said.
Dave's been holding Sandra's hand since 2011.
An international romance blossomed, which was first sparked online.
They fell in love and eventually tied the knot on British soil, which is where they were living happily ever after, but then Sandra got sick and U.K. doctors couldn't tell her why.
“I knew there was something wrong,” she said. “I had to come home, so I could find out what was going on with me.”
American doctors later diagnosed Sandra with terminal lung cancer.
Dave's been trying to get to his dying wife ever since. He applied for a temporary "3 to 6 month” tourist visa because it was the fastest option.
The visa was denied, likely because Dave planned to quit his job and move out of his apartment in the U.K. which may have flagged him as a flight risk.
A state department spokesperson wouldn't confirm or deny, telling the In Your Corner team visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis and, because visa records are confidential, they cannot discuss individual cases.
“If they don't want me to be there, then I'll leave,” he told News 4. “I'm too old to go play criminal and start running and hiding.”
Dave can still apply for a U.S. green card visa, but getting one of those could take anywhere from 6 months to a year.
That's precious time Sandra doesn't have, which is why we got busy coming up with a plan B for the intercontinental life or death crisis.
Sandra's U.S. Congressman is Tom Cole.
We alerted his Washington DC and Norman offices, and they connected Sandra with a case worker who specializes in solving problems just like this one.
Now, we wait.
“I need my husband,” Sandra said. “I can't express enough how much I need him here with me right now.”
We have big news to share.
A local immigration attorney has agreed to help Dave and Sandra pro bono and is working with Cole's office and the federal government to expedite a full blown immigration visa for Dave so he can be with his wife once and for all.
We plan to keep a close eye on this one. We'll check back.
One of the important functions Congressional offices serve is helping constituents get answers from federal agencies.
If you are unsure what congressional district you live in, you can find your rep by plugging in your zip code on the U.S. House of Representatives website.