Many critics of men who find a mate in the Philippines via correspondence are quick to spout the usual arguments:

1. He just wants a maid and a sex slave.

2. He can’t get a date with a ‘strong woman’ in his own country.

3. It’s quick and easy to bring a Filipina to America.

As to #1: I can’t prove my internal motivations to you on a Website, but anyone who knows me, knows that I treat women with respect and would never force the woman I want to spend the rest of my life to be subservient to me. My career used to be my top priority. Now, pleasing my wife is my number one goal.

As to #2: Anyone who knows a few Filipinas knows that they are strong women. They’re just subtle about it. They get what they want not by insulting and nagging men, but by catering to their egos. They get their way by making the man think that what she wants is his idea. It’s what they call passive-aggressive. Bullying a Filipina is by no means easy.

As to #3: I present the following diary of my experiences trying to get my wife’s immigration to America approved. This will prove beyond the shadow of any doubt that it is neither quick nor easy to bring a Filipina to America. What follows is my documentation of our efforts to be reunited here in America. (If you have not yet read "Jeff And Emelda: A Love Story" and "Marriage Can Be A Trip," I recommend that you do so before reading this diary because I will be referring to events, people and places that have already been described in the aforementioned stories (which can be found elsewhere on this Website)).

4-5-97

This was our wedding day. The first bit of red tape popped up just as Emelda and I were about to leave the second reception. I asked for the Marriage Certificate and I was informed that it would not be available for three days. Since we were leaving for our honeymoon on the following morning, this would mean that Emelda would have to mail me the certificate after she returned to Ozamiz and I returned to Los Angeles. Since mail service from Ozamiz can be slow, this meant that I would not be able to file our immigration petition immediately upon my return to Los Angeles. This would cause a two to three week delay.

4-21-97

Emelda mailed me the marriage certificate.

4-28-97

I received the marriage certificate in the mail. It only took a week to get to me! This is atypical of mail service from Ozamiz to Los Angeles. I was thankful for the speedy delivery.

4-29-97

I mailed the initial forms and $80.00 fee to the INS.

5-3-97

I mailed a letter to the Mayor of Emelda's town asking for his help in getting her to America faster.

5-8-97

The check for the INS fee cleared the bank.

5-10-97

I wrote the following e-mail to the 87 U.S. senators with listed e-mail accounts. (I have edited it for this diary.)

Date: Sat, May 10, 1997 12:48 AM PST
From: Filmbuff95
Subj: Sincere Request For Help - Not A Chain Letter
To: senator@sessions.senate.gov, senator@shelby.senate.gov, senator_stevens@stevens.senate.gov, info@kyl.senate.gov, senator_mccain@mccain.senate.gov, senator@bumpers.senate.gov, senator.hutchinson@hutchinson.senate.gov, senator@boxer.senate.gov, senator@feinstein.senate.gov, sen_dodd@dodd.senate.gov, senator_lieberman@lieberman.senate.gov, senator@biden.senate.gov, bob_graham@graham.senate.gov, connie@mack.senate.gov, senator_max_cleland@cleland.senate.gov, senator_coverdell@coverdell.senate.gov, senator@inouye.senate.gov, larry_craig@craig.senate.gov, dirk_kempthorne@kempthorne.senate.gov, dick@durbin.senate.gov, senator@moseley-braun.senate.gov, chuck_grassley@grassley.senate.gov, tom_harkin@harkin.senate.gov, sam_brownback@brownback.senate.gov, wendell_ford@ford.senate.gov, senator@mcconnell.senate.gov, senator@breaux.senate.gov, senator@landrieu.senate.gov, senator@collins.senate.gov, olympia@snowe.senate.gov, senator@mikulski.senate.gov, senator@sarbanes.senate.gov, senator@kennedy.senate.gov, john_kerry@kerry.senate.gov, michigan@abraham.senate.gov, senator@levin.senate.gov, mail_grams@grams.senate.gov, senator@wellstone.senate.gov, senator@cochran.senate.gov, senatorlott@lott.senate.gov, john_ashcroft@ashcroft.senate.gov, kit_bond@bond.senate.gov, max@baucus.senate.gov, conrad_burns@burns.senate.gov, chuck_hagel@hagel.senate.gov, bob@kerrey.senate.gov, senator@bryan.senate.gov, senator_reid@reid.senate.gov, mailbox@gregg.senate.gov, opinion@smith.senate.gov, frank_lautenberg@lautenberg.senate.gov, senator_torricelli@torricelli.senate.gov, senator_bingaman@bingaman.senate.gov, senator_domenici@domenici.senate.gov, senator_al@damato.senate.gov, senator@dpm.senate.gov, senator@faircloth.senate.gov, jesse_helms@helms.senate.gov, senator@dorgan.senate.gov, senator_dewine@dewine.senate.gov, senator@nickles.senate.gov, oregon@smith.senate.gov, senator@wyden.senate.gov, senator@santorum.senate.gov, senator_specter@specter.senate.gov, senator_chafee@chafee.senate.gov, senator@hollings.senate.gov, senator@thurmond.senate.gov, tom_daschle@daschle.senate.gov, tim@johnson.senate.gov, senator_frist@frist.senate.gov, senator_thompson@thompson.senate.gov, senator@hutchison.senate.gov, senator@bennett.senate.gov, senator_hatch@hatch.senate.gov, vermont@jeffords.senate.gov, senator_leahy@leahy.senate.gov, senator@robb.senate.gov, senator@warner.senate.gov, senator_gorton@gorton.senate.gov, senator_murray@murray.senate.gov, senator_byrd@byrd.senate.gov, senator@rockefeller.senate.gov, senator@feingold.senate.gov, senator_kohl@kohl.senate.gov, senator@enzi.senate.gov, craig@thomas.senate.gov
cc: Filmbuff95

Dear Senator,

I need your help. I'll try to keep this brief.

I recently married a woman who is a citizen of The Philippines. Much to my dismay, I discovered that I will have to wait several months to bring her here to America. I am so miserable without my sweet Emelda. I love her so much! I need to be with her. Can you please help me? I would be forever in your debt.

I could tell you all of the details of my situation, but I know you're busy, so I'll let you go. I hope you can help me. Thanks for your time.

If you want to learn more about me, my Website is at http://www.geocities.com/~hollismeister. If you would like to read the story of my recent trip to The Philippines (when I was married), you can read about it there. I'm sharing this with you so that you can see how sincere I am and you can see that I'm not some wacko!

Take care!
--Jeff Hollis--
Filmbuff95@aol.com

I also located my district's representative (Xavier Becerra) via a Website on the Internet and sent him the same message as above.

5-10-97

I received responses stating that my e-mail was undeliverable to three senators’ e-mail accounts: Bob Graham of Florida, Robert J. Kerrey of Nebraska and a Senator with the last name of Smith (since there were two Senators with that last name at the time, I could not figure out which state he was from).

5-10-97

I received form letter e-mail responses from the following senators:
John Warner
(Virginia)
Richard C. Shelby
(Alabama)
Craig Thomas
(Wyoming)
Richard H. Bryan
(Nevada)
Mitch McConnell
(Kentucky)
Wendell H. Ford
(Kentucky)

5-13-97

I received more e-mail form letter responses from the following Senators. I will include the entire e-mails that were sent from California Senators Boxer and Feinstein after the initial list.
Robert C. Byrd
(West Virginia)
Paul S. Sarbanes
(Maryland)
Daniel K. Inouye
(Hawaii)
Orrin G. Hatch
(Utah)
Byron L. Dorgan
(North Dakota)
John F. Kerry
(Massachusetts)
Patty Murray
(Washington)
Carl Levin
(Michigan)
Richard J. Durbin
(Illinois)
Harry Reid
(Nevada)
Robert F. Bennett
(Utah)
Ernest F. Hollings
(South Carolina)
Barbara A. Mikulski
(Maryland)
Strom Thurmond
(South Carolina)
John McCain
(Arizona)
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
(New York)
Paul David Wellstone
(Minnesota)
Spence Abraham
(Michigan)
Ron Wyden
(Oregon)
John Breaux
(Louisiana)
Lauch Faircloth
(North Carolina)
Tim Johnson
(South Dakota)
Frank R. Lautenberg
(New Jersey)
Ted Stevens
(Alaska)
Larry E Craig
(Idaho)
Jesse Helms
(North Carolina)
Barbara A. Mikulski
(Maryland) - 2nd response
Susan Collins
(Maine)

Barbara Boxer (California)
Subj: Rule: Re: Sincere Request For Help - Not A Chain Letter
Date: Mon, May 12, 1997 5:42 AM PST
From: Senator@boxer.senate.gov
X-From: Senator@boxer.senate.gov (Senator)
To: Filmbuff95@aol.com
=====================================================================
From the Office of Senator Barbara Boxer - Acknowledgment of Receipt
=====================================================================

Dear Friend:

This is an immediate auto-response thanking you for taking the time to contact Senator Boxer via email. Be assured that your message will be reviewed and that we will make every attempt to respond to your concerns, requests and or opinions in a timely fashion. Thank you.

=====================================================================
For detailed information regarding Congressional legislation and the current activities of Senator Boxer visit the Senator's World Wide Website at: http://www.senate.gov/~boxer.
=====================================================================


Dianne Feinstein
(California)
Subj: Rule: Re: Sincere Request For Help - Not A Chain Letter
Date: Mon, May 12, 1997 6:09 AM PST
From: Senator@feinstein.senate.gov
X-From: Senator@feinstein.senate.gov (Senator)
To: Filmbuff95@aol.com

Thank you for sending me your electronic mail message. Please know that I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

If your electronic message included your postal address in California, you will receive an answer to your questions via postal mail.

Should you need additional information about the Congress, or my offices in Washington and California, please visit my homepage on the World Wide Web. The address is http://www.senate.gov/~feinstein.

Thank you again for contacting me, and I hope you will continue to do so in the future.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

5-13-97

I sent an e-mail to talk show host Maury Povitch requesting his help. I knew it was a longshot, but I figured, "What the hell!"

5-13-97

I received more form letter e-mails from the following Senators:
Herb Kohl
(Wisconsin)
Jay Rockefeller
(West Virginia)
Kay Bailey Hutchison
(Texas)

5-14-97

I received more form letter e- mails from the following Senators:
James M. Jeffords
(Vermont)
Olympia J. Snowe
(Maine)
Pete V. Domenici
(New Mexico)

5-16-97

I received another form letter e-mail from:
Russell D. Feingold
(Wisconsin)

5-17-97

I received the following letter from Missouri's Senators via postal mail.

Christopher S. Bond
Missouri

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510-2503

May 14, 1997

Dear Mr. Hollis:

Thank you for contacting our office concerning the difficulties encountered with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

The tradition of congressional courtesy provides that we allow our colleagues the opportunity to assist their own constituents. Accordingly, we have referred your letter to Senator Barbara Boxer. She is in the best position to review the matter, and we are confident that she will offer all appropriate suggestions and assistance.

We appreciate the confidence you have shown by contacting our office.

Sincerely,

Christopher S. Bond

(signed)

John Ashcroft

(signed)

cc: The Honorable Barbara Boxer

That brings the senatorial response tally to three undeliverables, 43 auto-responses (including one duplicate response) and two written responses (the one joint response above).

5-19-97

I sent a letter to talk show host Oprah Winfrey requesting her assistance.

5-23-97

I received another senatorial auto response from:
Don Nickles
(Oklahoma)

5-25-97

I sent an e-mail to local radio talk show hosts Tim Conway Jr. and Doug Steckler requesting their help. On a recent show, Doug was talking about reentering the dating world after being out of it for about ten years, so I tied my situation in with that.

5-29-97

I received another senatorial auto response from:
Bob Smith
(New Hampshire)

6-2-97

I received the following letter from one of New York's senators via postal mail.

Daniel P. Moynihan
New York

New York City Office:
405 Lexington Ave., 62nd Floor
New York, NY 10174-6200

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510-3201

May 23, 1997

Dear Mr. Hollis:

Thank you for your letter received via the Internet regarding the immigrant visa processing for your wife.

It is the long-standing policy of the U.S. Senate that such matters be referred to the Senator representing your state. Therefore, I have forwarded your letter to Senator Barbara Boxer who will provide all information on this matter.

Sincerely,

(signed)

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

6-14-97

I received the following letter from one of California's senators via postal mail.

Barbara Boxer
California

United States Senate

Hart Senate Office Building
Suite 112
Washington, DC 20510-0505
(202) 224-3553
senator@boxer.senate.gov
http://www.senate.gov/~boxer

June 12, 1997

Dear Mr. Hollis:

I am writing to acknowledge your correspondence, which was forwarded to Senator Boxer's office from Senator Christopher Bond's office

Please call the San Francisco office, so we can discuss your situation. The phone number is (415) 403-0100.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

(signed)

Edith Franco
Staff Assistant

6-16-97

I called Edith Franco on my lunch break and left a message on her voice mail. She returned the call within an hour and left a message with my voice mail, outlining what she needed to know in order to investigate my case. I called her back and left another voice mail message giving her the requested information (general information about Emelda and I). She called back again and left another voice mail message requesting more information. I called her back and left another voice mail message, giving her the additional information she needed. I was quite surprised at Edith’s diligence.

I also sent the following e-mail to President Clinton (edited version):

Date: Mon, Jun 16, 1997 9:33 PM PDT
From: Filmbuff95
Subj: Please help me, Mr. President!
To: president@White House.gov
cc: Filmbuff95

Dear President Clinton,

I need your help. I'm desperate to be reunited with my wife. We were just married on April fifth in her country (The Philippines). Due to governmental red tape, it seems that she won't be able to come to America for several months. Needless to say, this is breaking my heart. I am miserable without my beautiful, wonderful wife. It is torture to be without the woman I love. Mr. President, you have helped so many people over the course of your presidency. I'm begging you to help me! I love my wife with all of my heart and soul and my life is incomplete without her.

Please take the time to read about our love story. You can do this by going to my Website at http://www.geocities.com/~hollismeister.

I have deliberately kept this letter short because I know you're very busy. I have written to you because I feel that you are a compassionate man worthy of much respect. I pray that you will save me from my lonely depression and help me be reunited with my Emelda.

God bless you!
--Jeff Hollis--

Of course, I figured that this would be a futile attempt, but on the off chance that someone in his office would check out the Website and become touched by it (yeah, right), I decided to throw caution to the wind. I also faxed a letter to Representative Walter Capps (my parents’ Congressman) requesting his assistance.

6-17-97

I faxed a letter to Governor Pete Wilson requesting his help and the White House’s computer system returned the following automatic response to my previous e-mail.

Subj: Re: Please help me, Mr. President!
Date: Tue, Jun 17, 1997 4:58 AM PDT
From: autoresponder@White House.gov
To: Filmbuff95@aol.com

Thank you for writing to President Clinton via electronic mail. Since June, 1993, White House.gov has received over one million messages from people across the country and around the world.

Because so many of you write, the President cannot personally review each message. The mail is first read by White House Correspondence staff. Your concerns, ideas, and suggestions are carefully recorded and communicated to the President weekly with a representative sampling of the mail.

We are excited about the progress of online communication as a tool to bring government and the people closer together. Your continued interest and participation are very important to that goal.

Sincerely,

Stephen K. Horn
Director, Presidential Email
The Office of Correspondence

Later, I sent similar e-mails to Vice President Gore and Hillary Clinton. I received automatic computer responses from them.

Also, a man named Nels Henderson (from Representative Capps' office) called me and left a message at my home at 9:05 a.m. He then called and left a message for me at work at 9:10 a.m. I returned his call during my lunch break, but the secretary said that he wasn't available. Later, I left a message for Nels, giving him some basic information about the situation.

I was expecting most of the Senators and President Clinton to ignore me, but I was pleasantly surprised that a Senator and a Congressman had decided to respond. These were small victories, but they were victories nonetheless. For the most part, all of this activity on my end (along with extensive programming of my Website) kept my mind busy so that I would not focus on the misery of being a newlywed who could not touch his wife.