PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A professor in the final stages of cancer is protesting what he said is the U.S. refusal to grant his wife and daughter visas to visit from Cambodia.
Ray Christl was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer in April 2014, his spokesperson Hiram Asmuth said in a press release. He’s stayed in Oregon for treatment, but doctors said the cancer has metastisized in his brain, bones and lymph glands.
His wife, Sina Kim, applied for an emergency visa to visit her husband in his final days, Asmuth said, but was denied because there was no guarantee she or her daughter would return to Cambodia.
For most of the past 14 years, Christl, 62, has lived in Cambodia. Monday is his 12th wedding anniversary. He and his wife visited the US together in 2006. He came to Portland initially for a work contract and returned again in September 2013
He told KOIN 6 News he “couldn’t make enough money as a professor there, even after 12 years,” so in September 2013 he came to Portland to work for a friend.
“Shortly after coming back and starting work I became very ill,” he said. He was diagnosed with cancer in Portland not quite one year ago.
He is in hospice now and the end is near.
Christl tried to stage a quiet protest in front of the federal building in downtown Portland, but was told he would need a permit in order to do so.
His family wants the Obama Administration to expedite the case and grant Christl’s family a visa to visit. They also want the Cambodian embassy investigated for what they say is a corrupt visa policy that requires a large amount of money to process visa applications which are routinely denied.
Senator Jeff Merkley’s office told KOIN 6 News they are aware of the situation and are working with Christl’s family to find a way for them to visit.
“It means the world to me, to die in my wife’s arms or have my wife nurturing me when I’m dying,” Christl said. “What more can a man ask for?”