Love, Marriage, and Immigration

A few months ago, I shared a love story.  My dear friend Jody found the man of her dreams through the magic of technology. Unfortunately for the two of them, Kevin was half a world away in Raheny on the outskirts of Dublin and Jody was here in California. Trips between the United States and Ireland can get pretty expensive relatively quickly. At some point in the future Kevin might have moved away from Raheny but he did not want to come to America at all. That was never in the plan. However, even the best laid plans change and he did end up coming here for Jody. At first, everyone on both sides of the puddle worried a bit but there was no need. Kevin is delightful and Jody has never been happier. I was thrilled for them when they got married a few months after his arrival at San Francisco City Hall and it has been my privilege to watch them grow into an amazing couple.

But America is hard on immigrants and Kevin moved from a tiny suburb of Dublin into the middle of Oakland, California – one of the most expensive and one of the most violent cities in the nation. Because their marriage was a real one and they had planned on living here for a long time  they needed his immigration process to be legal. They have thrown every dime they had at that process – and a little over seven months later, (which is the shortest time I’ve ever heard of in case you were wondering) Kevin is finally able to work. Unfortunately jobs are not easy to come by in this area unless you are in the Tech field and when everything is totally different than what you’re used to, the process is simply overwhelming. When he got word from home that both of his parents have been seriously ill or injured while he’s been in limbo here, it seemed the universe was trying to tell them something. Everything seems to be pointing Kevin back to Ireland…and he wants to go home.

This is easier said than done. Aside from not being able to travel, a person seeking a permanent (or even semi-permanent) residence in the United States can’t work at all until their status is approved. Jody and Kevin have lived off of one income for the better part of a year. Any extra has been spent on lawyers or fees and they are both totally exhausted from trying to stay afloat. They’ve finally realized that the Bay Area just isn’t worth the money and the United States isn’t the best fit for either one of them anymore. So it is with a sad and extremely happy heart that I must say goodbye to my friends at the end of May…which is when they are moving back to Ireland.

They need help to do this. This process has cost several thousand dollars and there are no savings left. Despite being an incredibly proud tribe, we do know when we can’t do it alone and sometimes you just have to ask. They have created a fundraising site and because I love them both, I’ve decided to share it here.

I know this is not one of my usual posts – and most of the love stories I have told are incredibly tragic and historical in nature. But this one is important to me – and I’d love to see them thrive in a place that would treat them far better than here. If you have a few extra coins laying around that you aren’t sure what to do with (as if that ever happens), please toss them in the bucket. This Irish love story has already had its share of fairytale moments, but they deserve another.

(Besides, I deserve a place to stay when I flee this country too, and since that’s happening next year, albeit temporarily, they are going to need to set up house and enjoy some private time pretty quickly)

If you’d like to read their original tale, here you go. It is a lovely, non-tragic, modern day love story and it warms the heart. Give only if you can and if you happen to be in the Dublin area and you have some job openings or a place to let nearby, may I recommend the Kellys? They are some of the best people in the world.


Mr. and Mrs. Kelly

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