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How I Sold My Soul...

Updated on June 11, 2012

To the US Government

I stood on my front porch watching my husband and my mom drive away in her red pickup. Are we doing the right thing for our family? It's so dangerous in Mexico right now...with all the cartels and violence...what if he gets killed? What if I sold my soul for a piece of paper? What if I sold my husband's soul for a piece of paper?

I couldn't shake the feeling that my husband of eight years and I had just embarked upon a treacherous and lonely journey. Our three children were still asleep in their beds, oblivious to how their lives were about to change for the next 12 months. Oh, sure...they knew their dad was going to be gone for an undetermined amount of time (could be three months or a year). Little did they know how hard it was going to be...and neither did I, for that matter.

My husband and I had filed the I-130 paperwork nearly seven years earlier. We requested that his 'unlawful presence' in the United States be 'pardoned' and that he be allowed to apply for legal residency in the United States. We thought, like many other unsuspecting applicants, that the process would be quick and painless. The process, so far, has been neither quick nor painless.

Two lawyers and seven years later, we discovered that my husband's first interview in Ciudad Juarez would be December 9th, 2011. Our hearts swelled and sank simultaneously. This was great news! The news that we had been waiting for with bated breath. But, this was also very stressful news. We now had to figure out what to tell our three children about why their dad (who had never been away from them for greater than eight hours) would be gone for upwards of a year.

As it turned out, telling our children their dad was going to be gone for 'awhile' was the very least of our concerns. While we packed my husband's two tiny suitcases for the two day Greyhound trip to Juarez we made our peace with how quickly the appointment had been thrust upon us. This is what we had waited for, right? We were 'doing the right thing'...

My husband's journey to Juarez was miserable, albeit uneventful and went fine. When he reached Juarez and officially crossed into Mexico was the moment we realized the gravity of what we had chosen to sacrifice so that our family might have a better life. A life where we no longer live in the shadows and on the brink of a constant fear of deportation.

Pirynola, my husband's nickname, stood at the border to Mexico, cell phone gripped tightly in his hands and spoke to me in a calm, yet frightened voice. "Well...this is it. Should I stay, or should I go?"

In my head a small voice (mine) was screaming: Don't make me decide! Come back! Come back right now! But what left my lips was: "Go, my love. Everything is going to be fine." And...he went...while I cried (hopefully silently) into the phone as he crossed the border into the most dangerous city in the world, the city with the highest murder rate...in the world.

And just like that, he was in Mexico...for the first time in 22 years. We both breathed a labored sigh of something akin to relief. So far he has been in Mexico for six months now. We received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security in March stating that the 'waiting period' for Permanent Residency visas was currently eight months.

At this point, we're not even counting the days anymore. I've resigned myself to secretly count the months...but I hide the calendar from our kids. All three of our children have had a birthday, lost teeth, started school for the first time and have all asked me no less then ten million times if their dad was 'coming home soon'. (No.) We celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary apart and he turned a year older in a country that is now foreign to him, alone.

These may seem like small sacrifices in the big scheme of life...but these small things chip away at a person's resolve. So, did I sell my soul for a piece of paper? Probably. Is it worth it, in the end? I don't know, because it's not over yet.

I miss my husband. I am very proud of what he has sacrificed. But...I have to ask myself this every night before I go to sleep...before I kiss our children good night and wipe away their tears...Was a social security number worth all of this suffering? Why is this process so devastating to families? Who designed this cluster-eff? They certainly didn't have families in mind when they hatched this brilliant masterpiece of immigration law.

The only thing that keeps me semi-sane...is my new obsessive-compulsive mantra: Someday your kids will understand. Someday this will all be a distant and vague memory. Someday...you will get to escort him across the border, legally, and into the waiting arms of E, R and L (our children). And then you will see the value.



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    • indiaguerita profile image
      Author

      indiaguerita 5 years ago

      Thank you, Josh, for reading!

    • Josh Bell profile image

      Josh Bell 5 years ago

      Interesting hub. Good story...

    • indiaguerita profile image
      Author

      indiaguerita 5 years ago

      Thank you, Mr. Fitzgerald. It would not be fair for me to compare a soldier's journey into war or deployment with my current situation. But I can relate to the families of soldiers in some small way.

      I agree with you that open borders are not the answer. I'm not sure how I feel about an amnesty. I don't know the answer, but I do know that separating families for an unspecified amount of time is NOT the answer and the entire immigration process needs to be restructured.

      I also believe that there should be a punishment to those who come into our country illegally...but I do not think this is the answer. I completely understand how so many families end up torn apart and marriages end in divorce after this process. While I would like to think that he and I are strong enough to weather this small battle, it has been no picnic. With support from our friends and family, including your wife, we have managed to make it through six months.

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

      -Laura

    • profile image

      Steve Fitzgerald 5 years ago

      I applaud your support of your family and your husband’s very courageous decision to abide by the laws and make the sacrifices necessary to do so. Our twelve grandchildren all know the pain of separation. Their parents are often gone for long periods to Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places. They carry weapons and go in harm’s way. Their returns are uncertain. They serve because it is a family tradition and because they know that someone must protect the country to which everyone wants to come.

      Our immigration laws are a mess and the enforcement of them is worse. It is a maze has caused serious problems at the personal and national level – for immigrants and for everyone else as well. It needs to be corrected. Unfortunately, the correction cannot be simply open borders and amnesty. That would work only in a perfect world – in this world it would be a nightmare worse than what we now have.

      We need immigration to prosper. That immigration must be rational and legal. Without control of immigration we will loose the country that everyone wants to come to – the country that so many have fought and died for. Your husband sounds like the type of courageous, honest man that we need. He is lucky indeed to have such a wife and family.

      Best wishes and prayers for his safe return.

    • indiaguerita profile image
      Author

      indiaguerita 5 years ago

      Thank you all very much for your kind comments. I know this is a touchy subject, but I wanted to give a perspect from someone who is actually living through the immigration issue.

    • bzirkone profile image

      bzirkone 5 years ago from Kansas

      Wow.. great hub. I'd like to videotape the homecoming. I'm making a documentary on this very subject.

    • Josak profile image

      Josak 5 years ago from variable

      I hope you get him home safe and soon, our immigration law is a mess and needs urgent attention. voted up and beautiful.

    • Ruben Rivera profile image

      Ruben Rivera 5 years ago from Colorado, US

      Thanks for sharing.

      Great article, it's realyy unfortunate that in the sake of "proper paperwork procedures" families have to be sacrificed, children have to be without a parent, I can only compare it to military families being separated but this is not war just political red tape wherethe most affected are children.

      Good luck