BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Wei Qiuhong thought her prayers were answered this year when the United States approved her visa, allowing her and her teen daughter to emigrate from China so Wei could marry the man she loved.
The visa required she marry within 90 days. Within a month of arriving in March, the relationship failed between her and the man with whom she had corresponded for three years. He decided the wedding was off, and Wei and her daughter found themselves living in a women's shelter.
Now mother and daughter are expected to leave the country before their visas expire June 14. They speak limited English, are not allowed to work and have no money for a flight back to China. If they get back, they have no home, possessions or jobs to which they can return -- they sold or gave up everything to come to America.
Michael M. Milanovich, 49, is a dentist who brought Wei to his home near Belleville with the intention of marrying her. He said he thought of the 90-day period as a way to see if they were compatible.
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Both Wei and Milanovich cited verbal and emotional abuse from the other as the reason their relationship ended. Now, Wei said Milanovich should pay for their flight home. But after Wei declined tickets for a flight in April, Milanovich said he has already invested enough in the process, though he said he is willing to give them the credit for the April flight.
Though Milanovich sponsored Wei and her daughter, he is not legally responsible for their return to China, nor for their well-being or whereabouts while in the country, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. That's because they didn't marry.
Wei's 15-year-old daughter, Liu Xinjing, said, in Mandarin: "Of course we want to stay here, but that is not a possibility. Now, we just want to get the money to go back home."
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