There are many reasons for Americans to scratch their heads in bewilderment over our immigration laws, and one of the strangest examples of that in recent times is coming to a sad and frustrating end in York County this week.

Time has run out for Dean and Laura Franks, who ran a profitable restaurant in Wells from 2000 until late last year, hiring from two to eight employees depending on the season and the state of the economy.

The Franks, however, are not U.S. citizens. The English couple were here on an E-2 visa program for people who run profitable businesses, and the visa, initially given for five years, comes up for renewal every other year thereafter.

Although they had paid off their restaurant’s mortgage and the one on a rental house they owned, leaving them only their home mortgage as a major debt, the State Department decided their enterprise no longer met the admittedly subjective criteria for renewal.

The Franks, who acknowledge their income had fallen in the recession, also say it had remained high enough to keep them in the black overall and allow them to continue to hire help as they required it.

The State Department will not review its decision, and the couple cannot even apply for citizenship.

So, unless a miracle happens before Sunday, their last legal day in the country, they are moving back to a borrowed house in Nova Scotia to await the sale of their assets, which they need to relaunch their enterprise in a country with objective criteria for such enterprises.

It’s almost impossible to believe that people like the Frankses are not welcome here, and that the jobs they provided for others must end. That, however, doesn’t mean it’s not true.