Woman struggle to be with fiance'

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Beer steins and cuckoo clocks in Trudy Slabig's Craig home are reminders of the things she left behind -- a country and a man she loves.

Now, she's trying to bring Peter Bachmann to the United States but is having trouble getting his fiance visa so the couple can be together.

"I didn't know it would be so hard to get married to someone," Slabig said.

The two met in Germany three years ago, while Slabig was temporarily living with her children and grandchildren, who also live there. After the death of her husband, meeting Bachmann was an unexpected surprise for Slabig.

"We just connected," she said. "It was magic. It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me."

But, her mother in Denver was getting older, so Slabig returned to Colorado and moved in with her brother, Paul Hackett, in Craig a year ago.

Slabig applied for a fiance visa for Bachmann. He wanted to marry her, and he was having trouble finding work in Germany.

"There are no jobs in Germany," Slabig said. "He can work here."

Hackett offered Bachmann a job at his business, Hackett's Framing, if he moved here.

The visa process takes three months, Slabig was told by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) representative, so Bachmann took advantage of the visa waiver program in the meantime. Under that program, he could be in the U.S. for 90 days while waiting for the fiance visa to go through.

But Slabig said it never did.

Bachmann returned to Germany July 30, and since, Slabig said all she has received are mixed messages.

"Everybody's giving me different information," she said.

She found a notice of a letter on her CIS online account, but she never received it.

She said CIS representatives won't release the information in the letter over the phone, but say the letter was sent six weeks ago.

"Peter sends you a card saying he misses you and that gets here in what? Six days?" Slabig's friend and neighbor, Elaine Vigil, said. "Sounds like they're just going around in circles with this woman."

Most recently, she said they told her to wait another 30 days before calling again. CIS spokesmen were not available for comment.

"How can I be away from him another 30 days?" Slabig said. "We were so happy together and now the government's telling us, 'We're sorry.'"

She thinks CIS might need additional documents from her, but cannot imagine what that could be. She already has a folder filled with papers she has sent.

She said she would hire a lawyer but cannot afford the expenses, just as she cannot afford to fly Bachmann here on another waiver visa.

"He can come over anytime he wants but he can only stay 90 days," she said.

And she's not about to risk him getting caught if he stays here illegally after the 90 days is up.

"I'm stuck," Slabig said. "I can't sleep. I'm not eating right. And Peter's the same way in Germany. I don't know what to do anymore."

For now, she'll just wait.

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