Austin man reunited with wife from Ukraine amid ongoing war
AUSTIN, Texas - An Austin man is reunited with his wife from Ukraine. This comes after they were waiting for her green card and the war broke out in Ukraine.
David Arellano and Iryna Chorna met a few years ago in Spain.
Arellano is from Austin, and Iryna is from Ukraine.
She's been trying to get a green card since 2021.
Then in February, when the war broke out, Iryna was still there. She describes the worry.
"The war started and I was like, 'oh, now I don't know at all.' What if this invasion won't go well? In the months or even in a week, [what if] there's no more Ukraine anymore, and there will be like Russia, and then who knows if my papers will be valid and if I even will be able to apply for visa again? Or maybe they will make a laws like no, you will never move out from this country. But luckily everything went well," Chorna said.
David tagged multiple politicians on Twitter, hoping for help getting his wife out of the war zone.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) responded and helped speed up the process.
The couple was grateful for the help.
"When you're in this situation of a war and you just you don't know what tomorrow, like, what can happen the next day or even in the next hours. Then, all you're worried about is, I know it's a waiting game, but is there any way to speed it up? And I think that's where [Doggett's office] was huge with," Arellano said.
Meanwhile, Chorna, who's from the city of Zhytomyr, started by hiding in a small village with her family, then moving west to Lviv before going to Poland.
"We worked with them first through one federal bureaucracy and then another, urged him to get his wife out of Ukraine and into Poland, eventually talking to the embassy in Poland trying to cut through the red tape," Doggett said.
Now Chorna is in Austin with her husband, and she says she's adjusting well to life in the U.S.
"I moved a lot in Ukraine first and I went to Poland and I was so exhausted with all these emotions and everything that when I got to United States, it was like, okay, I need to live here, I will live here. But also, I can't be that cultural shock because it's like you growing up watching movies, listening American music, like doing everything that you kind of expect," Chorna said.
Doggett says he's helped a few families through the process.
"We can't work miracles, we're not immigration lawyers, but so often we cut through the bureaucracy, and we want to help people that need help," he said.
Chorna was able to get to Texas just before Easter and celebrate with family.