When a Carnival cruise ship recently docked in Florida on a return trip from the Bahamas, a family was on board that included a husband, wife, several children and grand-parents who were visiting the United States from China. The children’s grandfather was diagnosed with a terminal illness and had come to the U.S. for treatment. His son-in-law and daughter took him and the rest of their family on the cruise as a way to share a special memory together since they know he is going to die. Little did they know, however, that their cruise would end with U.S. immigration law officers taking the grandparents away.
It happened after the ship came to port in Jacksonville. The Chinese grandparents were immediately detained, and their family has not seen them since, nor have they been able to determine where their loved ones were taken. The husband said he blames Carnival Cruise Lines for the situation, stating that if ship officials knew the grandparents could not enter the United States from the Bahamas, they should not have allowed them passage.
A spokesperson for Carnival cruises said it is up to each passenger to comply with U.S. immigration law. The person also stated that ship officials have no way of knowing what a particular passenger’s legal status happens to be. The older gentleman’s son-in-law said his wife’s father is gravely ill and has already had part of his stomach removed, which causes great difficulty when he tries to eat.
An attorney acting on behalf of the younger couple says the grandparents have valid visas that allow them to stay in the United States until sometime in 2027. She is working to find out where the couple is being held to try to rectify the situation. The family says U.S. immigration law officials had no legal right to detain their loved ones. Anyone in Florida facing similar legal status problems can do what this family has done and reach out for legal support.
Source: kansas.com, “Carnival cruise: Chinese grandparents detained, Missouri man says“, Kaitlyn Alanis, May 23, 2018