Pedro is an American citizen who came to the united states in 1989 from Mexico. He was 20 years old when he came here looking for a better life. Mexico was in that time, as is today, a country of much political turbulence and crime. He came here for a chance at a successful future as many young people his age did at that time. During his life in the U.S., Pedro met Irma, another immigrant from Mexico living in the U.S. He married Irma in 1993. His wife applied for political asylum in 1999. She waited three years to receive the paperwork to do the asylum claim. Meanwhile, Pedro found out he qualified for a green card and applied. He received his green card while his wife continued to await the decision on asylum.
Despite Irma’s attempt to obtain a humanitarian visa, in January of 2004 she got a notice that she was scheduled for deportation. It gave her a time and date to leave the U.S. and even notified her of which airport to report to, and how much luggage she could carry. The couple was totally devastated, but felt it was necessary to comply with the order to prevent any further problems with U.S. authorities. At the time of the deportation the couples’ only child, Joselito, was only six years old. Joselito was the only U.S. citizen in the family due to his birth on American soil. He was too young to understand the significance of the paperwork received by his mother . Five days after he graduated from kindergarten, he rode with his mother and father to the airport to see his mother off, and to say goodbye.
Since leaving the U.S., Pedro’s wife received a ten year bar to reentry. She resumed her life in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico while Pedro stayed in the U.S. and worked to provide for their son. Being that Pedro and his son lived in Chicago, frequent visits to see Irma were nearly impossible. Economic and scheduling problems with Pedro’s work and Juan’s schooling kept the family apart. Irma often talked to Pedro via phone and expressed that she felt totally powerless over the situation. Pedro felt the same but tried to convey a positive outlook to keep his wife from becoming too depressed.
The couple was still married but they were not together neither physically or emotionally. She lived her life with her problems and Pedro handled his situation in the U.S. Juan often asked his father why his country, the United States, did not like his mother. Pedro never could come up with an answer for this. It was hard to explain to a child that the country they were born in and should be proud of didn’t always make the right decisions when it came to law and policy. Pedro often thought about that his son should have the right to have his family together just like any other American family. Pedro himself was very proud of obtaining his citizenship and becoming a true American. However, part of himself felt ashamed for having his legal status when his wife was forced to live abroad.
After four years of living apart, Pedro and Irma decided that enough was enough. They marriage was strained, and their son was growing and did not really know his mother. Pedro and his son, who had relocated to California due to Pedro’s work, made a decision to sacrifice the little luxuries they had to seek out legal help for Irma. Pedro saved up some money and consulted a Sacramento immigration lawyer regarding his wife’s situation. The attorney was able to determine that Irma qualified for a type of waiver that would overrule the ten year bar. Pedro was happy to learn that his wife could then be petitioned for, and brought back to the U.S. legally using a marriage visa.
Pedro’s story is one of the few that has a happy ending. One year after applying for the waiver, Irma and Pedro were notified that it was approved. Soon thereafter, Irma attended her immigrant visa interview in Mexico and was granted a visa. The couple was finally reunited in 2010, and Joselito once again had a mother in his life.