Rochester Hills Belgian who married convict seeks Green Card

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Isabelle Hayward is becoming accustomed to waiting -- first, for the OK to live permanently in the U.S. and second, for the chance to spend much more time with her husband.

The 35-year-old from Belgium who lives in Rochester Hills with her 7-year-old son from a previous relationship married Clay Hayward in 2009.

He's locked up at a prison in Lapeer on a 1993 second-degree murder conviction.

Clay Hayward, 38, isn't eligible for parole until 2014.

By that time, his wife hopes to be rooted in the state and ready to begin their new life together.

But convincing immigration officials that their marriage is legitimate has not been easy, Gabriel Triculescu, Isabelle Hayward's lawyer, told The Oakland Press of Pontiac for a story Monday.

"She has to overcome the suspicion that she did this only for the Green Card, which is not the case," Triculescu said. "There would be so many easier and more financially beneficial ways for her to do that, if she wanted."

Isabelle Hayward's case is among hundreds of permanent residency cases from 2010 that are pending, said Marilu Cabrera, spokeswoman for the Department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department.

Cabrera said she couldn't address specific questions about Hayward's case while a decision was pending.

In general, though, the burden of proof lies with the government but is established by investigating certain aspects of the relationship in question, Cabrera said.

However, Triculescu said just about all the department's standard procedures to substantiate the relationship won't work in this case because Clay Hayward, of Saginaw, is imprisoned.

Isabelle Hayward, who recently started working with Microsoft, helping French-speaking customers with technical support for the Xbox, answered a television ad in 2005 for a group that connected people with prisoners around the world.

Published: Wed, Feb 16, 2011

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