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26/11 widow faces US immigration nightmare

March 23, 2010 03:42 IST

The widow of an Israeli rabbi, who was killed in the 26/11 Mumbai carnage, faces an immigration nightmare that threatens to keep her from seeing her eight children who are currently living in the US.

37-year-old Frumet Teitelbaum, an Israeli citizen, was stopped by US Customs and Border Protection agents at Kennedy Airport after flying in from Israel on February 5. Her husband Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum, who was studying in the Chabad Center, was killed in the 26/11 strikes. Since her husband's death, Frumet, a religious-studies teacher, had been regularly traveling without problemsfrom her home in Israel to the US to visit her children in New York.

Frumet's children, aged between 2 to 14, are staying with her husband's family in Borough Park, Brooklyn, The New York Post reported. "The kids, all American citizens, are being schooled in New York," it said.

But Frumet's frequent travels finally raised a red flag with Customs officials, who cited her for overusing her visitor's visa, Michael Wildes, her attorney, said. Frumet's valid travel visa was consequently stamped with restrictions limiting her time in the United States and making it difficult for her to extend her stay or secure residency in the US, Wildes was quoted as saying by the Post.

Wildes said he is planning to bring a race-against- the-clock appeal to Immigration Court and fight for her under a post-9/11 law that gives the families of terrorist victims the right to a green card and permanent residency. Authorities said Frumet should leave the country again early next month, failing which she faces possible deportation.

Immigration and Customs officials said they could not discuss specifics of Frument's case because of privacy laws. A customs official told the paper that said agents have the authority to approve or deny entry into the country and impose restrictions on a case-by-case basis.

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