An elderly Chinese cancer patient with months to live was recently detained by United States federal officers and deported back to China along with his wife after his family took them to a Carnival cruise in the Bahamas.
However, after their harrowing experience, Yuanjun Cui and his wife Huan Wang are now being allowed back into the U.S. without any explanation as to why they were held and deported in the first place.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, reportedly detained the 60-year-old stage 4 cancer patient and his wife on Monday at the end of their supposedly dream cruise with their daughter and son-in-law.
The couple, who held travel visas valid for 10 years, traveled from China to the U.S. in December to see their granddaughter for the first time. Despite the validity of their visas, the officers still questioned them about their paperwork when they boarded the Carnival ship in Florida on Thursday.
Joseph McDewitt and his wife Zhengjia, who are both U.S. citizens, had planned the cruise so that their father can at least enjoy what they expect to be his final months. Little did they know that their Carnival cruise would end with Cui and Wang being taken away by federal officers.
They were reportedly classified “persons of interest,” as soon as the cruise arrived back in Florida on Monday, said McDevitt.
McDevitt, who is a member of the Army National Guard, narrated to WJXX how members of his family were separated, with their two young children being allowed to stay with his wife.
“They pulled us off, immediately started fingerprinting her mom and dad,” McDevitt was quoted as saying. “They detained all of us and held us for an hour and didn’t tell us why. We never even got to say goodbye.”
After his wife and children were released, they never saw his wife’s parents again as they were forced to sign a document that they were voluntarily withdrawing from the U.S.
According to lawyer Susan Pai, CBP threatened the elderly with “5 years in jail and you’ll never see your daughter and grandchildren again” in order to force Cui’s wife to sign a document that she did not understand.
Pai said the unexpected deportation resulted in Cui and wife Huan Wang getting stranded at Beijing’s airport with no food or money. Pai noted that Cui gets dehydrated easily due to his condition, reports NY Daily News.
“They landed in Beijing, 500 miles where they live, no money, no food,” Pai was quoted as saying. “The father is just trying to survive. He is literally trying to not die in the airport.”
Zhengjia lamented that the ordeal had left her parents in shock, confused, and exhausted.
“My dad is absolutely exhausted, I’m concerned about his health. I don’t understand why they had to go through this,” the daughter said.
Citing privacy concerns, the CBP did not provide any details on why the two were detained, reports WJXX
According to Joseph McDevitt, his parents-in-law were allowed back to the U.S. with the permission of officials less than three days after they were deported.
“CBP contacted and told us they are going to allow [my wife’s] parents to turn right around and fly to Seattle from Beijing,” said McDevitt. “I’m excited, I feel like they are doing the right thing.”
Cui and his wife were slated to arrive back to the U.S. on Thursday morning.