A mixed race woman and her African husband learned the hard way that love and politics don't mix
When Caroline Jamieson wrote to U.S. president Barack Obama back in January begging him to intercede in her husband's deportation case, she got more than what she bargained for.
According to CNN, her husband "Hervé Fonkou Takoulo, was facing deportation to his native Cameroon. Takoulo failed in a bid before political asylum almost a decade ago."
Takoulo and Jamieson were married in 2005, and a judge issued a deportation order after they were married. Despite the judge's order, Takoulo applied for a green card that would give him the freedom to live and work in the U.S. as a legal resident.
He graduated from State University of New York at Stony Brook with an engineering degree in 2008 and received several engineering job offers, but no follow up due to the deportation order.
The couple had planned to go before immigration officials to plead their case for legal residency based on marriage to a U.S. citizen.
But immigration law requires that the deportation order be lifted before Takoulo can apply for legal residency.
"We want to be given the chance to interview and prove that we are a married couple, so Hervé can get a green card, and that has proven extremely difficult to do," Jamieson told CNN. [link]
Frustrated that the wheels of justice were turning too slowly for them, Jamieson, a vice president of marketing at a new-media advertising company, wrote that fateful letter to Barack Obama.
They never received a direct response to the letter. But they did get two Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers waiting outside their East Village, Manhattan apartment on June 3 when Takoulo was leaving the apartment to go to the gym. [link]
Jamieson told CNN that the officers cornered her husband and asked him if he had written a letter to the president. "He said 'No, but my wife did.' And they explained that with that letter -- when it was brought to their attention -- that the Obama administration wanted them to resolve this quickly,'" Jamieson said. [link]
Takoulo was immediately arrested and he spent the next six hours alone in a room at ICE Headquarters, chained at the wrists, ankles and midsection like a common criminal.
For the next two weeks, a frantic Jamieson wrote letters to politicians and her media connections pleading for help. She got responses, she said, but none seemed to lead anywhere.
Then on Thursday (June 17), Takoulo was brought to an immigration processing jail in Manhattan and released. There was no explanation for the release, but it probably had something to do with a CNN reporter's persistent inquiries into the case.
Takoulo and Jamieson are understandably bitter after their hellish ordeal. They had both been swept up in the euphoria surrounding Obama's historic election win in 2008.
"I felt a special kinship to him because I'm of mixed race, and my husband obviously has a similar background [to Obama's]," Jamieson told CNN.
"I feel really confused, I don't understand how something like this is possible. I can't imagine that at the top of the Obama administration that they realize that something like this is happening," Jamieson told CNN.
"We want to be a productive couple... All he wants to do is contribute to this economy."