Charlie Reunited with Family, Returns to Ohio
CLEVELAND (AP) _ Charlie Two Shoes, the Chinese farmer who came to the United States two years ago as the guest of some ex-Marines, says now that his family has joined him, his next dream is to become a U.S. citizen.
″It’s really a miracle, a dream come true,″ said a beaming Charlie after he and his family arrived at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Thursday night from San Francisco, the site of their reunion.
″So now God has answered the prayers. I don’t know how to thank everybody,″ Charlie told about 50 well-wishers at the airport.
The crowd cheered as Charlie, his wife, Jinmie Zhu; their two sons and daughter emerged into the airport concourse, all carrying small American flags.
Charlie has been living with ex-Marine Roy Sibit and his family in Tallmadge, near Akron, since May 1983. Sibit, one of the Marines who befriended Charlie in China 40 years ago, had worked to keep him in the United States and bring Charlie’s family here.
Charlie, 51, after several visa extensions, faced deportation later this month. But two weeks ago, U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese intervened and the Immigration and Naturalization Service dropped its proceeding against Charlie, clearing the way for his family to join him.
A stay of deportation also means Charlie will be eligible for permanent status as a resident alien and that he eventually could apply for U.S. citizenship.
Meese cited humanitarian grounds, saying Charlie ″means a great deal″ to the former Marines.
″My next dream is to become a citizen,″ said Charlie. ″I can’t wait to pay taxes ... to make our contribution to this country, so we pay our debt of love.″ Because of his visitor status, Charlie was not allowed to work in this country.
Charlie was 12 when the Marines took him under their wing, feeding and clothing him and providing for his education. They nicknamed him Charlie Two Shoes because they couldn’t pronounce his real name, Cui Zhixi.
The Marines left China in the late 1940s before the Communists arrived. When diplomatic ties were restored between the United States and China, he contacted his buddies and a visit was arranged.
The Chinese approved passports for Charlie’s entire family, but the U.S. government would only approve a visa for Charlie.
Charlie said his family told him after their reunion that they wanted to stay in the United States.
The $4,000 cost of the flight for Charlie’s wife, sons Tsui Yin Whee, 23; Tsu Yin Tao, 15, and daughter, Tsui Yin Chao, 12, was paid by a anonymous donor from Houma, La., said Sibit’s wife, Jean. She said the donor also paid for Charlie’s $2,000 round-trip ticket two years ago.
A trust fund for Charlie’s family has also been established, she said.
Three other former Marines - Donald Sexton, Greensboro, N.C.; Ed Grady, Redding, Conn.; and Raymond Brewington, Detroit - traveled to Cleveland Thursday to greet Charlie and his family.