August 16, 2005
Dallas planner quits to fight wife’s deportation
HOUSTON (Reuters) - A wealthy Dallas developer who dumped
his wife of 30 years to marry a younger Chinese woman gave up
an influential city post and has headed to New York to fight
her deportation, his lawyer said on Tuesday.
Ralph Isenberg, 53, and his wife, Nicole, who turns 41 on
Friday, ignored a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
order that she leave the country by August 15 and are fighting
it in New York, attorney Ted Cox said.
"We believe she's entitled to stay here and file for a
green card," Cox said, referring to the document that gives
resident status to immigrants.
The juicy story began unfolding publicly earlier this month
when Isenberg resigned from the City Plan Commission after
telling local reporters his soap opera-like story.
Isenberg said he left his wife of 30 years upon meeting
Nicole, previously known as Yanhong Hu, who had been arrested
for prostitution at a Dallas massage parlor, according to The
Dallas Morning News.
The charge eventually was dismissed, although Nicole
Isenberg's immigration problems persisted. U.S. immigration
spokesman Carl Rusnok said she had lost her chance to apply for
"She would have had that opportunity had she left the
country," he said, noting that the government has given her
three extensions over 18 months to stay in the United States.
Ralph Isenberg has adopted his wife's 14-year-old daughter
from a previous marriage and the couple has a six-week-old
daughter. However, his adult daughters from his previous
marriage scolded their father in a letter to the Morning News.
"This is not the story of a woman being unfairly deported
by immigration officials but a story about a wealthy man who
was unsuccessful at getting rules bent or broken for his own
personal benefit," Rachel Isenberg Waguespack and Sarah
Isenberg Games wrote.