Sick Infant Caught In Green Card Red Tape
Poppy Zegger-Murphy Needs Double Lung Transplant



BOSTON -- A 7-month-old baby waiting for a life-saving double lung transplant at Children's Hospital is caught in an immigration dispute.

NewsCenter 5's Amalia Barreda reported that Poppy Zegger-Murphy is an American citizen, but her parents are not.

"(Poppy's) a very fragile baby and she has been described as living on a knife's edge and sometimes she can just fall," said mother Philomena Zegger-Murphy.

Poppy was born with an unknown disease that requires her to have a double lung transplant. Her mother is British and her father is Canadian. Until recently, he worked in Atlanta under a North American Free Trade Agreement visa that was denied by immigration when he went to renew it.

"We might not agree with their decision, but if it's a sound legal decision, that's fine. But then it highlights the fact that there must be something wrong with the law. If our daughter is an American citizen, I'm Canadian, Philly's British -- it's not like we're terrorists, it's not like we're trying to do anything wrong. We're just trying to sustain ourselves," said father Christopher Zegger-Murphy.

The couple said they need green cards to stay in this country while they wait for their baby to get her lung transplant. While immigration said it is very sympathetic to their situation, a spokesman explained immigration law does not allow legal permanent residency based on medical care or for humanitarian reasons. A family member or an employer must sponsor anyone applying for a green card. Right now, the family does not have either one.

"It's just unbelievable that we would find ourselves caught between two countries where we can't support ourselves. We can't leave here nor can we go anywhere else. And our daughter here is critically ill and we don't want to be anywhere else," said Philomena Zegger-Murphy.

The Zegger-Murphys said they are now surviving on donations and the help of hospital foundation money. They have an $800 a month COBRA insurance bill that will run out in another year. The Poppy's medical bills have already reached $2 million.