Dallmer has been separated from his Irish wife, Heather Costello, and his two sons, Adam and Harry, for the last 7 months because of an immigration snafu.
But now, thanks to the intervention of his local congressman, an end to the Dallmer family’s ordeal could be in sight.
“There have been indications that our case will be expedited and that the necessary papers will be sent straight to Dublin by the State Department,” Dallmer, who lives in Sicklerville, N.J., said this week. “At the same time I’m not getting my hopes up. I’ve been disappointed before.”
What has given rise to Dallmer’s guarded optimism is an effort to speed up a stalled visa process by the office of Rep. Robert Andrews, in whose district the Dallmers live.
Heather Costello has been stranded in Dublin for the last 7 months while Dallmer has been at the family home in Sicklerville. The family’s separation is due to the U.S. immigration status of Heather’s 8-year-old Irish-born son, Adam.
Keith and Heather, together with their son Harry, spent a few precious days together last week in New Jersey. Heather flew to the U.S. to renew her visa and took American-born Harry to see his father. Adam, who was subjected at one point to a criminal background check by U.S. immigration authorities, had to stay back in Dublin with his grandparents.
The Dallmer family is an expanded one. When the couple married in September 2000, it was the second marriage for both. Dallmer then adopted Adam.
Costello gave birth to a second son, Harry, in December 2001.
Last June, Dallmer and Costello, a pre-school teacher, received word that her father was ill. She decided to fly back to Ireland. She took the boys with her for what should have been a six-week stay.
But when it came to returning to the U.S., Adam was stopped by the Immigration and Naturalization Service at Dublin airport because his immigration status was not in order. The necessary paperwork had somehow gone missing at the National Visa Center in St. Louis.
“I believe that this is almost sorted out and a reunion of this family can take place,” Rep. Andrews said.
“This is a very sad example of the schizophrenia in our immigration system,” he added.
“It’s self evident that these children and their mother are not exactly a hotbed of terrorist activity. The Dallmers are a very nice family and I feel sorry for them because of what they have suffered through,” Andrews said.