To The Editor:

We have been living our American dream for almost 15 years – upstanding and law-abiding folks, paying our taxes and contributing to the community. Our U.S. visas expired on April 30, but our I-94s allow us to stay and work our business until December 2019. Current renewal situations reported by our lawyer and various people we know are not positive and even if we did manage to get five years, what then?

For 14 years we have been hoping that the immigration laws might change and allow us a route to green cards and citizenship. Unlike the other “Dreamers” we are the Dreamers who are not able to marry a U.S. citizen, gain citizenship and then invite our whole family to gain citizenship. We are the Dreamers that the system has ignored, the ones who have taken nothing from the education system or the state and have, in fact, only contributed to it. Unfortunately, it seems that time served counts for nothing.

So, after much soul searching, it is with a great sadness and heavy hearts we have concluded that our American dream is over and will return to the UK.

We would like to bid farewell to all our friends, not only in the Mad River Valley but guests who have become friends across this vast and amazing country. You have made us feel welcome and we are honored to have a been a part of your country, even if it was only for a short time.

We have had a wonderful adventure, met thousands of great American citizens and have become lifelong friends with many. Thank you to everyone in this Valley who has tried to help us with our situation, especially our innkeeper friends – Kim and Bob Sexton, Joan (and Thom) Gorman, Peter and Susan Maclaren, Luke and Linda Iannuzzi, and Mike and Sandra Anastos. Thanks also to Trish Hopkins and Susan Klein who have also tried to help us over the years. Thanks to the best ever fitness instructors; you have kept us going through all our stresses: Roarke Sharlow, Barbara Chalom and Lisa Loomis. Lastly, thanks to Officer Bent for keeping us safe, for his empathy with our situation and his heartfelt apology on behalf of the United States. We shall remember that for years to come.

We will miss this haven – the little bubble we know as Vermont. As Americans you may think this country is not in good shape right now, but take it from us, it is a wonderful country made up of exceptional people and you should be proud, not embarrassed, as some folks have said they are, to stand tall on the international stage as Americans. We only wish we could have been standing there next to you as proud American citizens too.

Graham Hewison and Maxine Longmuir