March 7, 2009
MAHWAH, N.J. (AP) _ A Caribbean woman whose husband of less than a year died in a ferry crash is taking her fight to get her green card to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mahwah resident Osserritta Robinson is an immigrant from Jamaica whose husband, U.S. citizen Louis Robinson, died in New York in 2003 when a commuter ferry crashed into a pier.
Immigration officials denied her green card application because the couple had been married only about eight months. Under U.S. laws aimed at cracking down on sham marriages involving immigrants, if a citizen spouse dies before two years have elapsed, the immigrant spouse's green card eligibility ends.
A federal judge in Newark ruled in 2007 that immigration officials were wrong to deny Robinson's application, but that decision was overturned by an appeals court in Philadelphia in February.
Robinson's attorney, Jeffrey Feinbloom, told The Record of Bergen County that he is petitioning the Supreme Court.
According to an advocacy group, Surviving Spouses Against Deportation, Robinson's case could have a significant impact on 170 widows and widowers facing deportation because their citizen spouses died before two years of marriage.
Feinbloom said Robinson's case would be the first involving the so-called "widow's penalty" to reach the Supreme Court.
Robinson last year settled a wrongful-death lawsuit against New York City over the Oct. 15, 2003, Staten Island ferry crash, which killed 11 people. She was to receive $1.375 million.