why?


A lot of people ask why Carlos can't live in the US.  Here's where I try to explain that.

Carlos arrived to the US as a teenager in the 90s. He graduated from high school, went to college, we met in 2003, dated for 4 1/2 years, married in 2007. Tired of living in the shadows in the US, Carlos made the decision to move out of the country and a month after that, I joined him in exploring options in Europe and then finally settling in Northern Mexico. In October 2008, while 8 months pregnant with our son, Carlos and I received the final word from the US Consulate in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. He is not eligible for a visa to live in the US as my spouse, and he also isn't eligible for the hardship waiver that US citizen spouses usually get to file when their loved one isn't eligible for a visa.

All this because of one unfortunate day when he was 16, when he was forced by a parent to seek entry to the US using a relative's US birth certificate instead of the visitor's visa he already possessed. Under immigration law -- INA 212 A 6 C ii to be specific -- a false claim of US citizenship carries a lifetime ban with no waiver. Still, the fact that Carlos was ineligible for the waiver was a surprise to most who knew our case, including the legal counsel we sought before the interview. Evidently the immigration world had been misinformed, because everyone was under the impression the consulate would not be applying this law to people who were minors at the time the incident occurred, as minors are generally considered to have limited capacity to make these decisions or understand the implications.

So, we fought it. In November, our wonderful lawyer Laurel Scott proved her ongoing excellence by sending an expertly crafted appeal to the Department of State in Washington. Basically, the argument was that since Carlos was too young to consent to the claim of citizenship, and because it happened against his will, that section of the law should not be used against him. Unfortunately, weeks later, the appeals people in Washington decided that INA 212 A 6 C ii does not require the person to have intended anything. They simply had to commit it. In other words, case closed.

In December 2008, I desperately sought the help of Senator Durbin's office in at least getting Carlos to the US on a Humanitarian Parole visa in time for the birth of our son.  It was not to be. Our son was born two days before Christmas, with Carlos watching and participating by Skype.

In March 2009, I turned to my federal congressional representative, Bill Foster. Within days, his immigration caseworker had mailed a letter of support. I put this letter on the top of a 60-page packet requesting a Humanitarian Parole from Washington and prayed this would be our chance to get the family together in the US for at least a few more months.  March 16, I sent the packet. March 31, Washington sent their form-letter response. Denied.

Through the summer and fall of 2009, our steadfast lawyer continued with the appeals and attempts to break through this brick wall, but nothing worked.  That fall and the following spring we tried to gain support from Senator Durbin's office to sponsor a private bill on our behalf, but to no avail.

So finally, after 3 1/2 years of living in separate countries, at the end of the summer of 2011, we all left our lives in our countries of birth, and moved to South Korea where we are finally together.Meanwhile, we re-opened our push for justice, filing a new visa application and attending a new visa interview where we were denied again at the US Embassy in Seoul in November of 2012.  This was part of our lawyer's master plan to continue the fight. About two weeks later, we welcomed our daughter, born here in Seoul.

In March of 2013, the US Department of State published a new approach to the issue that has us banned for life; it seems that they will now start looking deeper at the specifics in cases where the immigrant was a minor at the time, and it looks promising for our family. Our lawyer has been a few steps ahead of this change and we are currently finalizing the arguments that will hopefully lead to being cleared of this inadmissibility and on to "simply" seeking a waiver for remaining 4 years of the 10-year ban that was triggered when Carlos remained in the US without authorization after his 18th birthday.

So what's our current status? I teach English, Lucas attends kindergarten, and Carlos takes care of the baby at home as we fight for a long-term solution for our family. We refuse to accept that my country thinks this little of the life I've worked hard to build, of my skills and abilities, and of the investments that so many others have made in my future. To reduce my entire experience, and to limit our children's futures, to a form letter denying my family a chance to exist together in the US for something none of us could help or choose is not only heartless, it's unacceptable.

In the US, criminal acts are judged in a justice system that weighs the unique facts of the situation, and makes decisions of guilt and sentencing accordingly. However, immigration violations (which generally fall on the civil spectrum of infractions, rather than criminal) are judged in a totally different format, with the regulations for holding people inadmissible quite rigid and the penalties exceedingly harsh, unbending, and unable to be tailored to the infraction or the person committing it. Not only that, but the laws are terribly unbalanced, offering reprieve in certain situations but not in others. As immigration reform advances onward, US citizen families like mine need to be included in the reforms. Not only does the US need to find a solution for those 11 million living inside its borders with immigration violations in their past, but it also needs one for the those who have "gone back to their countries", "gotten in line", and "tried to do it the right way," especially when they have US citizen spouses and children in the balance.

It took one parent's mistake to ruin our family's future, and it's going to take hundreds of our friends to restore justice to this situation.  Thank you for being one of them! We appreciate all of the wonderful support we've received from all our family and friends, both the ones we've met and the ones we've only encountered online. Thank you!

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry for your unfortunate outcome and I wish there were some other alternative. There are so many people in our shoes.

Thank you--- Gigi Flowers

Tabitha said...

I found your blog while doing research on teaching in South Korea. I currently teach at a community college in the U.S., but I am planning to come to SK and teach next year. Nevertheless, I want to say that your family is in my prayers. This is an extremely unfortunate situation. I will be praying that everything works out for your family and that the Lord blesses you abundantly, beyond measure.

Anonymous said...

so sorry for what u and ur family going thru..I will be praying and hoping that one day he will be bck in the state where he belong..God bless!!

Cuddles said...

that is so sad :( im sorry and will pray for your family i do know this is one of the reasons people come here illegally b/c its so dang crazy tryin to go through immigration. my husband has been in mexico going on 4 years and immigration is taking their dear sweet time.

btw i found this on immigrate2us if i find any info i will definitely let u know but that is so crazy ggrr makes me mad ecsp us that are here paying taxes and tryin to do it right maybe if u do drugs or something like that maybe they will let him home seems like those are the ppl getting by with stuff now adays

Cathlaine said...

Hello,

Thanks for sharing your story. I found this on http://immigrate2us.net/forum/showthread.php?85057-Direct-Consular-Filing-%28DCF%29

Its so sad of what happen to your family but we'll praying for your well future and be together forever . God bless.

Anonymous said...

I just want to let you know how proud i am that your family is still together. My husband is Mexican and weve been through the I601 waiver process and it was horrible.I felt like my country had turned its back on me. We were planning living outside the US also but his waiver was granted after 3 years. I hope someday our laws will change. I know many with mixed status marriages that live in fear and thier children. This cant be a just way of dealing with families.

Sebastien Lauzon said...

I am so sorry and sad to hear about your story. What a messed up sociaty the US is... Glad to hear that you were able to make the most of it. Let me know if there is anything that I can do to help.

Anonymous said...

Seems like you were used by the system. Attorneys wrote these silly laws so you would need more attorneys to find a way around the law. I will bet they still charged you for services they clearly could not provide. The 10 year and lifetime bans are relevant for hard violent criminals in my opinion, not for loved ones trying to stay with loved ones.

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for sharing your blog. We are in a similar situation, aiming for Canadian residency under the federal skilled worker. Still don't know how long we will be apart... Glad to see you found a creative solution that works for your family. I wonder if the president's new policy will allow you any hope?

What a political nightmare we stepped into just by falling in love! Stay strong. We are becoming better more dynamic individuals in the process, but it sure hurts, doesn't it.

Anonymous said...

I was olny 2 when my mom enterd the US with out inspection.. I was granted voluntery departure in 2010 to my home country Mexico that i knew nothing about...now my USC wife and son live here in Matamors..your story gives me motivation to FIGHT and if we dont win..Iam thinking Spain..

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for you and your family. Thank God you were able to find another option in another country to be together. Good luck and may God be with you and your family!

Anonymous said...

What a terrible thing is happening in the USA. The ability for them to do this to you came from scaring everyone after the attacks of September 2001 and using this as an excuse to remove the rights of citizens. Your story is like many other sad stories of the US turning their backs on the core values of what once made it a great nation. It is good to know that you have found a way to have your family together, too bad it could not be in the place where you grew up.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I had not read your story.
Praying for you and your family, hoping to one day continue to living your dreams and you families dream as well.
Your imm2us family loves you and wants the best for you.
I hope your son is doing better now.



saca330

Anonymous said...

I think of you often and pray that you will find success in your process through S. Korea. Have you received an appointment date yet? I moved to Mexico to be with my husband and after two years, he just received his CR-1. I hope and pray that success will be yours very soon. Keep us updated!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I pray for you and your family and that everything only gets better from here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story and God Bless your family.

Anonymous said...

We are thinking the same thing and looking into Australia or Canada but you know, South Korea wouldn't be bad if they would have us, especially because my husband is Asian. We decided to apply for AOS in spite of possible denial due to section 212(a)(6)(C)(ii) (I-9 issue on my part). I have pretty much accepted the fact that in short order, I will no longer be welcome in the only country I have known for 20 years, since I was 18. My husband has a professional degree, I am on the verge of completing one, since in those 20 years, I never stopped trying to better myself and went to school every time I had a bit of extra money. Neither of us has any criminal record plus we own a home and my husband has a ton of school loans that we have faithfully been paying back. But that is all for naught. My husband still has hope that the AOS will be approved, but I am tired of fighting. It is no excuse, but the truth is, I did not know what I was doing was violating any laws. So I have reconciled myself to this situation and have started to look into migrating into a country that will have us. We can't just roll over and die. We will move on.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your situation! I have a sister who has been barred for life for telling the truth. I have been researching a solution but it seems as though this is going to be a tough battle! There are so many cases! why is that stupid law even in effect? I could agree on some type of penalty.....but life?? that's gotta change!

Anonymous said...

Good luck LOSG I enjoy & respect all your post
hope blanket waiver helps

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you have this blog......I too am working on leaving the states to be with my husband too! God Bless

Cynthia Reyes said...

I just find it so unfair how our government works. My husband was given the 10 year ban, and we have 7 1/2 to go. I wish I could just take our kids and move. But my children from my first relationship wont even cooperate to file for a passport. My daughter has anger towards her father because he's not with her. Your story motivates me.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to start reading your blog. My husband and I face a number of challenges with the immigration system as well :( and although we haven't made a move out of the country yet, South Korea has come up in a number of conversations. Thank you for writing about your struggles and moments of happiness as well!

Anonymous said...

American immigration law is rude, not human at all and I hate it. American feel like their land is special. I live here since 3 years and iam tired of stress, crime, guns and so one and so fourth. It is like a hell. thank GOd you are out of all those stuffs. where you live with your loves one is your home. wish you good luck and propose you to go to canada if you really miss the states. you can still come to america just to visit your family if you are in canada legally and your husband too i think.
patricia

Anonymous said...

Very nice family . i think its not very important to be in the u,s but somewhere where we all can be together and happy. my wife is japanese and for a decade she never applied for a residence in the usa and the minute we applied they asked us things you cant imagine so she said lets go back to japan where we lived happily for many years and looks like thats what we re gonna do ...no laws and borders can separate familes so stay together and strong and dont let government lies go in between...korea was a great choice long live Carlos and his family ....annyoung~~~~~

Rafael Vazquez said...

My wife was banned for life, I'm really disappointed about immigration laws in USA, I feel like a US citizen without rights in other words I feel discriminated.

I put all my hope in god, God does not want families separated.

Anonymous said...

Im in the same situation. Time passes by and nothing has been solved to help all the family's who are living this same nightmare.

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