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Elkhart, Indiana

“He Loved Being a Dad So Much”

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I met my husband in 1998 in Phoenix, AZ when I was 21. When I first moved to Phoenix I didn’t know anybody and I ended up in a bad neighborhood surrounded by bad situations. Then this kind and ethical family moved in next door and I was so happy to see good-quality people. After three months I started dating (Jose) David and in 2002 we got married after being together for three years. On May 28th, 2002 we filed the initial immigration paperwork indicating that we were married. While dating, David earned his associates degree in English and we both became bi-lingual. We lived our life happily in Phoenix and in 2004 I gave birth to our son Joseph David. We chose to raise Joseph David where I grew up in Elkhart, Indiana. It was our time living together in Indiana where we first saw the challenges that come with being and living with an undocumented immigrant. Challenges such as not being able to receive a driver’s license placed hurdles in our way, but we were still together.

We knew the danger that driving without a license could bring to our family so we filed the paperwork to get my husband legal citizenship. At this same time my husband’s grandfather in Mexico was very ill, so together we flew to Mexico to be with his family. We were told that in 6 months David would have his interview to become a citizen after I had filed all of the correct paperwork and paid hundreds of dollars.

My husband went back to Mexico in October 2005 and it ended up being a year and a half before he was able to get an interview. That year and a half was an arduous struggle! The cost of paying for daycare was more than my mortgage. I worked hard to save money but we had to live on 30 dollars a month for gas and food without the extra income that my husband was bringing in, or the money saved in not needing child care. I only used the car to go to work because I couldn’t afford gas…even in America where I have a bachelor’s degree I am living in poverty and without my husband. I was going through these struggles at home and raising my son by myself! David is such a great dad! When we lived together we would work different shifts and take turns caring for our son. I always remember when our son was a newborn and on the weekends I would be able to sleep in knowing that David was caring for our son. He loved being a dad so much.

After waiting a year and a half, my husband was declined citizenship. It was during this time of despair in Mexico that my husband began to fall apart and started to get involved in alcohol-which was very unlike him. After being declined we had to wait three years for him to try again. It was at this point in March 2007, that we decided to separate and didn’t talk to each other for over a year. I was devastated because my life revolved around him and my child but I believe in accountability and sacrifice and we all do our best no matter the circumstances. Life reminded us that our love and respect for one another includes forgiveness and we reunited, working through our anger and mistrust. This resulted in a stronger relationship, growth and a deeper comprehension of what family and marriage means. We waited the three year penalty and we couldn’t find anything on what we should do next. I spoke with an immigration attorney who told us that he would file paperwork for us for a cost of $2,500. Our local state senator’s office gave us the wrong information and it took us a year to figure out how to re-file. When my husband finally was scheduled an interview, the government sent the information to the wrong place and he missed the interview. We rescheduled and he returned to Juarez where he was denied yet again. We attempted to file a hardship waiver but we were declined 6 months later because we hadn’t proven that we were suffering enough financially; I also did not have a mental health disorder or medical condition. The strange thing is that in 2005 I was required to file the Affidavit of Support proving I live above the poverty line and now that is a major factor that excludes him from reuniting with his family.

2011 father’s day my son made a father’s day card that shows him going to many activities that every child experiences. From going to the zoo to playing catch, except for my son on the last page of the card he drew a tear because he said he will never be able to do these things with his father.