Separated by immigration law and a pandemic, this family fights to stay connected; RLG Immigration Chair Darius Amiri sees silver lining

By Alden Woods | The Republic

Richard and Elise celebrated their first wedding anniversary in the Dominican Republic. While they were there, Richard presented Elise, who was seven months pregnant, with a painting of their growing family. It showed her in peaceful childbirth and him by her side, reaching out to her, reassuring her in Spanish: I am always with you, love. 

They haven’t seen each other since.

When Elise returned to Phoenix in February, Richard stayed on the island, where he had settled temporarily to await a resolution to his four-year immigration case. He wasn’t with Elise when she went into labor in April, forced to watch through a phone screen as his son was born.


“Unfortunately, stories like Richard and Elise’s are growing more common due to COVID-19 related court and embassy closures and travel restrictions. Separation from a spouse during the birth of a first born child is an unimaginable hardship. The good news for this couple is they seem to have done everything right in order to ensure that Richard’s case is ultimately approved and he is able to return to the United States as a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).” ~ Darius Amiri, Chair of the Immigration Department at Rose Law Group