Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We have a new ally!

Recently, we were granted the honor of an appointment with Clarisol Duque, who is the director of Senator Durbin's Chicago office. Yesterday, I went with Lucas and my mom to meet her. I expected it to be a quick in-and-out type of thing where she would listen to our story for a minute and then assure me that Senator Durbin will support immigration reform.

Instead, here's what happened.

We waited in the reception area for a couple minutes and then she came out, super friendly, and really excited to meet Lucas. He, by the way, put on such a show, being extra-cute and smiley and charming the whole time. So she led us, not to some little office or cubicle, but to the CONFERENCE ROOM, big, huge corner room there on the 38th floor overlooking the south end of Chicago's Loop and Lake Michigan.

Then Ms. Duque sat down, opened a notepad, and said, "So, tell me about your situation."

So I did, and she listened intently. She wrote down all the legal codes. She wrote down dates of entries and the visa interview. She was concerned but not shocked that Carlos, being a minor at the time, was held to 6(c)(ii), the lifetime ban with no waiver for misrepresentation as a US citizen. She asked where we're at with appeals and such.

Her biggest concern was with the fact that 6(c)(ii) was held against a minor rather than the fact that it is unwaiveable. This is not a surprise, as that's where Durbin's heart is with immigration legislation. As she stated, even if Senator Schumer's (D-NY) much-anticipated immigration reform bill were to include a waiver for 6(c)(ii), it's still an injustice that Carlos should be charged with it in the first place.

So she said she wants to START by investigating if there's a precedent for success in what our attorney most recently attempted, which is getting DHS to review a waiver and determine eligibility for it rather than the consulate. She says she'll have her people look at that first. She expressed concern and interest in our case, which was much more than I was expecting.

By the way, she is the most knowledgeable person I've talked to about our case to date who wasn't deeply involved in their own immigration situation. This especially surprised me because her job is not to deal with immigration cases; she literally RUNS Durbin's Chicago office. I was totally blown away by her knowledge, professionalism, and yet very easy-going, warm character. She gave me faith that Senator Durbin's office might play a big role in our family someday seeing our dream of togetherness in the US come true.

Where this will go, we don't know, but we have renewed energy that we might see something positive happen for our case. :)

Here are some photos from our exciting day

Lucas, enjoying the view from the Metra. This is the stop where his Mommy used to get off to visit Daddy back when they were dating!

After the meeting, walking around downtown. Lucas had enough excitement and napped in Grandma's favorite umbrella stroller.

Back at home, Lucas models the adorable outfit he wore all day, courtesy of Ryan and Harper Guerra.

Alternate caption: "This is the outfit I was wearing when I crawled around in Senator Durbin's conference room!"