A Minnesota man says he has been “abandoned abroad” as he’s waited seven years to bring his family of seven back to the state legally. But a different fate has greeted the millions of others pouring through America’s wide-open borders.
Dave Pomeroy was a guest on Liz Collin Reports this week.
“I was born and raised in the north metro. I graduated from Coon Rapids High School. In my 30s, I traveled the U.S., but that was for work and that was about it. So, when I hit the age of 42, that was the first time I ever left the country,” Pomeroy said.
It’s when he met his wife who is from Belarus — a country in Eastern Europe bordered by Ukraine and Russia. His wife had two children from a prior relationship and he immediately ran into roadblocks trying to bring them all back to the United States.
“We made the decision to get married in Belarus. The original plan was for me to spend 30 days there. At the end of that 30 days, I’d come home and we’d start going through the spousal visa process. But she found a way for me to be able to stay in Belarus. Since I worked remotely, I talked to my boss. He was okay with it, so we made the plans. I stayed in Belarus. And we spent the next four years there going through a lot of chaos with this very complicated process,” Pomeroy explained.
Pomeroy said it was clear he wasn’t wanted in Belarus because he was an American, detailing incidents where beer bottles and bags of garbage were thrown at him. There was even someone who burned holes in his family’s baby stroller. He said it was all done to send a message.
“It was just very clear that I was not welcome there,” he said.
Ultimately, they moved to a small town and then took a trip to Jamaica when COVID hit.
“It was intended to be three months, just hoping to relax and get away from it for a little bit. About a week before our return flight to Europe, I got an email saying that our flight was canceled. No reason, but it was right at the time when most of Europe was locking down because of COVID, and because my wife needed a visa just to travel, we essentially became stuck in Jamaica and things went downhill from there,” Pomeroy explained.
For all these years, he said they’ve been doing what they can to get back to Minnesota, paying tens of thousands of dollars to immigration attorneys for help with no real assistance.
Pomeroy said the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica wanted them to go back to Belarus, but in February 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Belarus suspended operations due to the war between Russia and Ukraine.
“My primary focus is to be able to keep my family together, which is something that I think a lot of people don’t quite understand about the immigration process. You hear people that take seven years to get through this. A lot of times that’s seven years that you’re apart and you’re lucky if you can go and visit for a few days or a week,” Pomeroy said.
“The worst part is that we get a lot of conflicting information from the various different government entities. One embassy tells us that this is the process, another embassy tells us this is the process. It’s been a nightmare, to put it bluntly. It’s been an absolute nightmare,” he added.
Since February 2022, the family has been in Panama.
“Since then, we have had our own Panama surprise. We have the birth of our baby twin daughters and then the hoops that we’ve had to jump through to try to keep that compliant with Panamanian laws. There’s so much different paperwork that has to be filed,” he said.
“My wife actually just got a temporary residency because of our twins. At this point, we’ve got a lot of unanswered questions. We’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place because my wife and her two kids, my two step kids, their passports are now expired. And the only way that we can get those renewed is if my wife and they return to Belarus,” Pomeroy said.
Meanwhile, illegal immigration remains at record highs. In Minnesota, the number of backlogged immigration cases in Minnesota has gone from nearly 3,000 in 2013 to 32,000.
“For somebody like me in our position, it’s extremely frustrating to see that the doors are basically swung wide open and all of the accommodations that are being made for people who are breaking the law,” Pomeroy said.
“There’s my family and we’re not alone. There are thousands of us that are in similar situations where we’re trying to do this legally. We’re trying to do the right thing and yet we’re having doors closed in our face again and again and again.
“We’re kind of stuck in limbo. At this point, we’re trying to get a little more creative. The biggest hangup that we’re having right now is the fact that my wife’s got a Belarusian passport and it’s expired. So, we’re looking at a fast-track route of trying to be able to get a passport for either Panama or another country through legal means. That will at least allow us then to be able to enter the United States under whatever terms that we can at that point, again legally, and hopefully be able to rectify the situation from that point.”