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Public Statements

Letter to the The Honorable Eric Holder, United States Attorney General

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Boston, MA


Letter to the The Honorable Eric Holder, United States Attorney General

Kerry Asks Attorney General Holder To Reunite Haverhill Couple

Senator John Kerry sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder today, urging him to allow a Haverhill man to return to the United States.

Tim Coco and Genesio Oliveira were married in 2005. Two years later, Oliveira was forced to return to his native Brazil because of his expired immigration status. Oliveira had previously applied for asylum because of the brutal treatment he suffered at the hands of the government while living in Brazil.

Immigration laws allow spouses of American citizens to obtain legal permanent residency. Coco and Oliveira are legally married under Massachusetts law, but federal law does not recognize their marriage, so when Oliveira's asylum request was unjustly denied he was forced to leave his husband.

"Tim and Junior have played by the rules since day one. Junior's asylum claim is a legitimate one and has been recognized as such, which is why I am asking the Attorney General to come down on the side of fairness, justice, and compassion and allow Mr. Oliveira to return home to Massachusetts to his husband," said Senator Kerry.

The text of the letter is as follows:

The Honorable Eric Holder
United States Attorney General
Washington, DC 20520


Dear Mr. Attorney General,

I'm writing on behalf of one of my constituents, Tim Coco of Haverhill, Massachusetts.

Tim, and Genesio "Junior" Januario Oliveira, Jr., were married in Massachusetts in March 2005. However, since August 2007 they have been separated because of Junior's immigration status. It is for that reason that I look to you for assistance. Under your discretion as Attorney General I ask that you review Junior's case and if you deem it appropriate, overrule the lower immigration court's ruling and allow Junior to return to the United States under his original asylum claim.

Junior applied for asylum in 2002 under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, based on a brutal rape and attack he suffered at the hands of government officials in his home country of Brazil. Even though presiding Immigration Judge Francis Cramer, stated that he found Junior's testimony to be "credible" and his fear of Brazil "genuine" he denied the asylum claim and ruled that Junior "was never physically harmed" by the rape. This outrageous claim was allowed to stand when in June 2007 the Immigration Board of Appeals upheld Judge Cramer's decision. Junior voluntarily left the United States following this ruling and has been separated from his husband ever since.

The injustice of the initial denial of Junior's asylum claim continues to this day. Tim had to suffer the loss of his mother recently without his husband and Junior was unable to get a visa to attend the funeral of his mother in law. I hope that you will review this case and determine that the denial of Junior's asylum claim was in error and let him return to this country. If you have any questions about Tim and Junior's case please contact my staff at 202-224-2742. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

John Kerry


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