KANSAS CITY, MO (WDAF) — The battle continues for a Kansas City father who has been trying for more than a year to bring his parents from Haiti to the United States so that they can visit their dying grandson.
The family first made headlines last February after a local foundation donated two airline tickets, but what no one has been able to do is cut through the red tape that is preventing the grandparents from getting a visa. And with every delay, their grandson grows weaker.
It’s been five months since FOX 4 last visited 20-year-old Luc Henrius, and although he still flashes that movie star smile, he’s noticeably weaker. Even getting around with a walker has become nearly impossible. He must rely on the strong arms of his dad, Cedanor, to make the short trip from the living room to the dining room of their Kansas City home.
Five months ago Cedanor was hopeful that Luc’s grandparents would be able to visit him before he died. Cedanoar has been working since last summer to get them a visa, but now, nearly a year later, there is still no sign that they will be approved.
“I cannot wait for this thing to be over because I work too hard for it,” says Cedanor in his lilting Haitain accent.
This single dad of three has spent $15,000 compiling all the documents the US State Department wants before they will let his parents enter the United States. Cedanor has three boxes full of records, everything from birth certificates to bank records. Just when he thought he was done, a new request arrived. Both Cedanor and his parents needed to provide the State Department with a DNA sample to prove they are related.
Cedanor provided his sample in May and is still waiting to hear back. With every passing week, he watches his son grow weaker and worries that if his parents ever do get permission to visit, it will be too late.
“It’s not about me,” says Cedanor who works 12-hour days as a home health assistant. “It’s about Luc. I try to do it for him because he wants to see them.”
FOX 4 first learned about Luc last February when we received a call from Luc’s hospice provider Omega. A representative had contacted us because she worried that Cedanor was under such financial strain paying for the visa applications that once the visas were granted it might take another year before he could afford to buy the plane tickets from Haiti to Kansas City. And by that time it would be too late for Luc.
Fox Four Problem Solvers contacted a local foundation that anonymously donated the tickets. We also contacted Kansas City Congressman Emanuel Cleaver’s office to assist Cedanor in completing the paperwork for the visas. But even all that help hasn’t been enough to overcome the mountain of red tape that immigrants from poor countries like Haiti must overcome to visit the United States.
Although Cedanor tries to stay upbeat, the strain of the past few months is beginning to show.
“When I see how much money I spent and how much time it take, I was so discouraged last time I was talking to them,” he says. “If I know this would take so long, it better to take that money build a little house for them and send them a couple of hundred dollars each month.”
But he knows that’s not what Luc wants. He wants to see his grandparents one last time.