I think I will tell a story on here, most wont read it, and that is perfectly OK. But here goes:
I know this girl, she comes from a hard background. Not that she is hard, but that she’s had it rough. We can all relate to a degree, but her situation was more extreme than most. After years of struggle, this lady met the man of her dreams. He helped her through some really hard times.
- Suicide attempts
- Serious medical issues
- A troubled child
She met this man at a pivotal time in her life, she had just tried to commit suicide and was almost successful. Through this, he was there, the only one there, nursing her back to health, first as a friend, and then as much more.
Daily their love blossomed into something magical only their hearts can express. It was in their faces, in their eyes, and in their peace. The broken girl, was slowly being made whole. The world was waking up to her, a world that had long sense been dormant.
He came into her life as a knight in shining armor, minus the sword, and minus the armor. He stole her heart and for the first time, she thought she was safe, she could breath. The thoughts of suicide left her, she was able to function and deal with her medical issues in a healthy manner. She had stability, not only for herself, but her daughter as well.
The couple married, she got pregnant, but tragically lost the baby. With her heart broken, and no other outlet for the grief she was feeling, she decided to just “check out”. She attempted suicide, something she hadn’t done since meeting her love. Again, he was there for her, she recovered, he helped get not only her through this time, but her young daughter as well. Healing began, and through the process, that magical piece of them; their love, was only made stronger.
Over time, she found out she was pregnant again. Nine months later, this couple welcomed a son to their family. That moment was 18 months ago. With the birth of this baby, their family unit was made whole. Through the love they shared, they created this little perfect person, a cross image of both mom and dad. Life was good.
Then came the day, the day her world stopped. The day a stranger came stopped by.
“Ma’am, I hit your car.”
She went outside and looked. There was no damage. No mark on either vehicle. She started back into the house.
“Ma’am, I hit your car. I need to speak to the owner of the car.”
The car was registered in her husband’s name. She can’t drive due to medical issues, so she went back into the house, and told her husband who quickly put on his shoes and went outside.
The next thing the woman heard was her daughter screaming. Upon going back outside, she was shocked at what she saw. Her husband, was in handcuffs. The whole encounter was a trick. The man claiming he hit the car was an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Officer.
That was the last day she held her husband in her arms.
Wait. How did this even start you might ask? Good question.
In 1998, like others before and after him, her husband Miguel entered the United States from Mexico in El Paso Texas. The problem with this, was he did so without authorization from the United States Government.
Miguel settled in Garden City Kansas where he worked in a restaurant washing dishes. He paid his taxes and kept out of trouble. For three years, Miguel toiled in the kitchen working to provide for his young daughter back home in Mexico. Everything came crashing down on January 17th 2001 when he was arrested for making a false declaration to law enforcement. (Steaming from his use of false work authorization.)
Subsequently the charges were dropped, but it was to late. Miguel was deported back to Mexico a couple weeks later.
Determined to provide for his daughter, and to be honest, because he developed a love for the United States, in February, less than a month later, Miguel reentered the United States, again without permission, this time in Columbus New Mexico.
He returned back to Kansas, but didn’t stay there long before he moved on to Vancouver Washington.
Meanwhile, Michelle, who had never laid eyes on Miguel was suffering her own issues. Her health issues were stacking up, and family problems continued to drag her down. Michelle was struggling to find her place in this world.
In 2007 Michelle was in a car accident where she sustained a serious back injury. When life throws you lemons, you make lemonade they say, Michelle was to the point where she just couldn’t even see the lemon in front of her. Thoughts of suicide flooded her mind and she began falling down a familiar path of depression and anxiety.
Being the survivor of sexual and physical abuse, Michelle has little self worth, thanks to those who should have protected her, but instead choice to hurt her. She had no one to turn to, and no one to comfort her.
By 2009, Michelle began receiving treatment for Factor V and Factor VIII (Blood clotting disorders than can be fatal). Life was throwing her curve ball after curve ball and it seemed like she couldn’t catch a break.
August 2010, Michelle reached her breaking point, she attempted to end her life. This is also when she met Miguel. Miguel gave her the courage and the reason to fight back and win. Michelle survived, and it goes without saying, Miguel was a crucial part of that.
What started as a friendship, in reality Miguel saving her life, turned into something much more. Michelle and Miguel fell in love, and by February 2011 were living together.
Miguel took on the daughter Michelle had from a previous relationship, no small feat and the family was finally in a good place. Michelle was on the right track, and her daughter was also doing well.
Later that year, April 29th, 2011 Michelle and Miguel looked into each others eyes and promised to “love, honor and cherish each other” till death parted them. (Death did not part them, a broken Immigration System took the power away from God Almighty, and separated them.)
Happy tidings to the couple who seemingly beat all odds, Michelle found out she was pregnant. Thrilled to have a child, the couple began doing those little things that complete a family. Picking out names, buying baby outfits, giggling at each ultra sound. In a sense they all three were riding on cloud nine, Michelle could breath..
January 2012 Michelle had a miscarriage losing the baby the couple had already fallen in love with. Michelle needless to say was devastated by this and fell back into the grips of her depression. While I am thrilled to say Michelle was not successful, Michelle once again tried to end her life.
Once again, it was Miguel who was there for Michelle and her daughter, it was Miguel who saw Michelle down the road to recovery. His hard work and determination paid off with their son Giovanni almost exactly 11 months later.
Right before Giovanni was born, Michelle began trying to help Miguel change his legal status. They filed for the I130 and it was approved. Now seemingly all they needed was to apply for the waivers, but Miguel still had the prior deportation order over his head.
You see, Immigration law is very complex. It’s not a black and white issue like many assume. Just because you marry a US Citizen doesn’t mean you can change your status. You’re still subjected to the bars/bans. In Miguel’s case, a life time bar from the United States. This means, in order for Michelle to be with her husband, she must pack up the children and move to Mexico. So we have a system in place, that deports US Citizens on default. What choice would Michelle have if Miguel were to be deported? To forgo her medical care -something she can’t easily get in Mexico- and move for life to Mexico? Or to divorce her husband and fall back into her owl pre-Miguel life?
Nevertheless, the couple discussed their options. Miguel wanted to “right his wrong”. He wanted to make amends to the United States, he was willing to be fairly penalized, but like so many, Miguel didn’t understand his bar/ban is un-waiver-able. That means, there is nothing anyone can do. His life time ban will stick unless there is a reform that helps people like Miguel.
Remaining in the shadows was the only option left to Miguel. He continued to work and support his family in the States, and his daughter in Mexico. He paid his taxes, and never got into trouble…
September 19, 2013 the day Michelle’s world stopped and her heart was removed from her chest. The day she and Miguel were tricked by an ICE agent. The day Miguel was led away from his wife and children in chains. The day that the world crashed in on them.
Michelle’s daughter was outside on this beautiful sunny September day, when a man approached her.
“Do you know who’s car that is?” The man asked.
“My mom, I will get her.” She said skipping away, with no clue her world was about to come apart.
Michelle came outside to a man standing at the back of her car. “Can I help you?”
“I hit your car.” He said matter of factually.
“What do you mean, there is no damage to either vehicle.” Michelle protested.
“Ma’am I need to speak to the owner of this car. Is that you?” Of course Michelle didn’t know at the time, but she was being set up. He knew this wasn’t her car, he also never hit the car. He was there with the intent of arresting and deporting her husband.
Michelle went and fetched Miguel who came promptly. Just as promptly as he came outside, the ICE Agent has his handcuffs out and Miguel was looking at his sobbing family from the window of a ICE Van window.
Michelle took every penny she had to fight Miguel’s removal. After all, she is a US Citizen, doesn’t she have rights to the pursuit of happiness and the protection against cruel and unusual punishment? Apparently not. The lawyer tried to grant Miguel a stay of deportation, siting Michelle’s upcoming surgery. A surgery she desperately needed. The recovery time is six months, and Miguel was needed.
Miguel admitted full quilt. He entered the country illegally and he knew there was little that could be done for him. All he was asking for was a stay of deportation for one year. Long enough for Michelle to have surgery, to recover and for him to set up something for them in Mexico. He agreed to the check in’s with ICE, he agreed to the monitoring, and was even willing to have house arrest, all he wanted was that one year. He was denied and his deportation was set for February 24th 2014.
With the aid of Jasmine Mendoza, Chasity Alvarez, and Fair Unity, a Faith Based support group for US Citizens going through this immigration nightmare, Michelle quickly learned there were things she could do. Flyers immediately went up drumming up support for PD (Prosecutorial Discretion) on Miguel’s case. Calls were made, trying to stay his deportation.
On the scheduled date for Miguel’s deportation, Michelle and her daughter went to the Northwest Detention center in Tacoma Washington to protest the removal. Without any thought to her safety, Michelle took matters into her own hands, by blocking the bus she thought Miguel was on. In hindsight it didn’t matter who was on it, Michelle had a goal to spare her family from the devastation of deportation, but also the others being deported that day.
With Michelle standing in front of the bus, the bus continued to head for the road. Michelle didn’t waiver, neither did the driver, completely bumping into her. Before she had time to realize, the bus had just hit her, she was handcuffed and dragged off. Placed under arrest with her young daughter watching, the bus was free to leave.
The kicker to this whole thing, once again, Michelle and Miguel were tricked. Miguel wasn’t on that bus, catching wind of the protest outside and Michelle’s involvement, Miguel was deported two days later on February 26th, 2014.
I recently spoken to Miguel from his exile in Mexico. He kept telling me how broken he was without his family. He insisted they were tricked, and over and over he told me “I am dying here, I just want my family.”
Michelle plans to follow Miguel to Mexico, but it’s not an easy task. First she has the upcoming surgery, a surgery she can’t get in Mexico, she also does not drive due to a Medical condition, and a panic disorder limits her ability to use public transportation.
At the beginning of March 2014, Michelle once again reached her limit and was hospitalized after trying to kill herself. No sooner was she released from this, than she attempted it again.
Michelle is in out patient therapy for her suicidal urges, but she still battles these demons which only escalated through the deportation of her husband.
As of the writing of this, Michelle has been contacted by CPS threatening to remove her children from her care due to her suicide attempts. These are people, flesh and blood people, a child who everyday forgets his fathers voice, and touch. A wife who cries herself to sleep and fights to get through each and every agonizing minute.
Michelle tries to hold it together, but it is always one thing after another. She is a human being, she reacts, and her illnesses only agitate and very serious situation.
She’s lost Miguel, and now they want to take her children. Ironic, while Miguel was here, Michelle and the kids were doing great.
Deportation ruins lives, the lives of your family members, your neighbors, that person who mows your lawn, the person who washed your car. Maybe that woman whom you see crying at church just lost her husband to deportation.
Michelle’s children are US Citizens. Regardless what anyone feels about Miguel, those children love their father, Michelle loves her husband. How much revenge do we need? Is our current immigration policy one to reign justice, or destruction? Is this the legacy we leave the world?
** Click here to read an article in which Michelle is featured. For her actions on February 24th 2014, those inside the detention center began a hunger strike.
***There was error in the article (link above). Miguel was not arrested at his interview. He was arrested at his home after someone reported “an undocumented person” at that residence. (Secure Communities!)
I love you, I pray for you, and I am here for you, Miguel and those children. I will not forget, I am watching as are millions of other US Citizens. We see what is happening, and we are not shutting up!