They deported my mom

A personal tale of how immigration laws divide families

|
(8)

Eight months ago, I kissed my mother goodnight and walked down the hall to my bedroom. Eight months ago, I was a few weeks away from attending Seattle University. Eight months ago was the last time I saw my mom.

In the early morning, my sister barged into my room. Phone in hand and tears in her eyes, she said, "They got her again." Sitting up in my bed, still half-asleep, it took me awhile to process what was going on. "Huh?" I replied. "Mom, she's getting deported," my sister sobbed. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested her on the way to work. They had watched us until they knew my mom's routine.

My sister left and I had a minute to think. From then on, I knew everything had changed. I wasn't going to Seattle. How was I supposed to pay for it now? And my mom was getting deported. Again.

My mother came to the US in 1992. Her plan was to work for a few years and send money back to Mexico to support her parents. She also wanted to save money so she could return to Mexico and finish nursing school. But she met my father, a law school dropout who came to the US to work and save money for law school. Long story short, I was born and they decided to settle down here in the States. They knew that we had better opportunities in the US.

 

VULNERABLE TO SCAMS

Later, my parents decided that it was time to "become legal." They sought the legal services of attorney Walter Pineda. He told my parents, and countless others, that if they had been in the country for longer than 10 years, had no criminal record, and had kids that were born in the US, he'd get them a green card in 12 months. Oh, and he wanted $10,000 per person. My parents couldn't pay $20,000 at once for the both of them so they decided that my mom should be the first one to get a green card.

The thing is, Pineda wasn't telling the truth. There was no such law that stated, "If you have been in the country for 10 years or longer, have no criminal record, and have kids who are US born, Uncle Sam will mail you a green card." But Pineda took the money and filed an asylum claim for my mother. Since my mom wasn't seeking asylum, the claim was denied. (It also didn't help that Pineda never actually went to court, leaving that to his assistants). My mother was handed an order of deportation instead of a green card.

Pineda, a native San Franciscan and a graduate from San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco, was later investigated by the State Bar of California and was accused by the bar of a "despicable and far-reaching pattern of misconduct." He later resigned from the State Bar when he faced charges of legal malpractice in 41 cases he handled. Records indicate Pineda left the area, and our efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

After those legal avenues were shut down, our family ran. We moved from house to house. My parents lived in the shadows, like escaped felons. They got nervous each time they signed any paperwork for fear that it would alert ICE. We would gather around the TV every night and watch the news, hoping to hear that immigration reform was on its way. But all we ever saw was members of Congress shaking their heads and saying, "Not this year," year after year.

I remember learning about what the plaque at the foot of the Statue of Liberty says, "Give me your tired, your huddled masses yearning to be free." I thought about what a lie that was. My parents, and everyone like them, aren't welcomed here. They're "illegal aliens." Me, and those like me, we're "anchor babies."

We moved some more. Years passed. We all forgot about the order of deportation. We bought a car, a dog, and a few years after that, we were thinking about buying a house. The American dream, my mom's dream, was almost within her reach.

 

Comments

I can only hope that your article is reprinted in Spanish, stateside as well as in the print media of Latin-america. Perhaps with some dissemination, future border jumpers will have second thoughts concerning the possible consequences of their illegal action. And that those who have successfully made the illegal transition to american soil, may pay a heavy price and face accountability for their disregard of american law. Yet they can gain some solace knowing that, within our justice system, they will have rights and treatment far beyond the summary beatings and abuses they would have likely received had they been "arrested" in Mexico and dragged off to the "Delegation" for being deemed "illegal".
Those who would consider "thumbing their noses" at our immigration law, need to see beyond the immediate border and "el norte". And hopefully, your article, will awaken this segment of lawbreakers to the possible repercussions of flouting our immigration law and how it could become the nightmare of a family diaspora for them. They need to accept accountability for their choice to break the law and stop whining their case as if they are slaughtered innocents. For they are not. And thankfully. your first person experience will enlighten them to the possible reality of an illegal trespass over our border.
That said, i now suspect that a substantial payment to a "pollero/coyote" has Mom back... albeit in the shadows and with the worry of a repeat of the deportation that could come at any time.
"y de todos modos, un abrazo fuerte a tu mommie al regresso al Norte"
Therod

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2014 @ 6:00 pm

come to the USA and have children the immigration system is broken? I see.

Posted by guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 6:56 pm

The immigration system is, indeed, broken. But not because folks who have violated immigration law have been deported. Rather, it's because we allow too many legal and illegal immigrants into the US in the first place.

The Statue of Liberty is a statue, it's not the last word on immigration law. The constitution does not guarantee any right to immigrate nor do its provisions cover non citizens. In short, the US owes your mother nothing.

Her home country of Mexico owes her something, but has failed to come through for her, so she looked elsewhere. I don't blame her, I would do the same thing in her place. But let's put the blame where it belongs, on the failed state of Mexico, and not on US immigration law.

I'm fascinated by this quote-

"They were lured by a country that offers opportunities here and pursues policies that shut them down elsewhere. "

Lured by a country? What does that mean? That sentence sounds as nonsensical in Spanish as in English, I'm afraid. Inanimate objects like countries don't "lure" things.

The fact is, your mother was unhappy in Mexico for a variety of reasons and she wanted to come to the US. She was not "lured" here, but came voluntarily. And she was not doing me or anyone else who is a US citizen any favors.

She then wasted lots of taxpayer money running from the law because she preferred living in the allegedly 'racist' US instead of that 'bastion of fair play and tolerance' known as Mexico.

I sympathize with your plight, but not your mother's. She broke the law, she got caught, and now she is paying the penalty.

I wish you and your family all the best going forward. I hope that you get the education you deserve and that your mother finds happiness in her home country. Perhaps she can work to make it a better place that so many of its citizens don't want to leave so badly.

Posted by Zero Population Growth Advocate on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 5:11 pm

The immigration system is, indeed, broken. But not because folks who have violated immigration law have been deported. Rather, it's because we allow too many legal and illegal immigrants into the US in the first place.

The Statue of Liberty is a statue, it's not the last word on immigration law. The constitution does not guarantee any right to immigrate nor do its provisions cover non citizens. In short, the US owes your mother nothing.

Her home country of Mexico owes her something, but has failed to come through for her, so she looked elsewhere. I don't blame her, I would do the same thing in her place. But let's put the blame where it belongs, on the failed state of Mexico, and not on US immigration law.

I'm fascinated by this quote-

"They were lured by a country that offers opportunities here and pursues policies that shut them down elsewhere. "

Lured by a country? What does that mean? That sentence sounds as nonsensical in Spanish as in English, I'm afraid. Inanimate objects like countries don't "lure" things.

The fact is, your mother was unhappy in Mexico for a variety of reasons and she wanted to come to the US. She was not "lured" here, but came voluntarily. And she was not doing me or anyone else who is a US citizen any favors.

She then wasted lots of taxpayer money running from the law because she preferred living in the allegedly 'racist' US instead of that 'bastion of fair play and tolerance' known as Mexico.

I sympathize with your plight, but not your mother's. She broke the law, she got caught, and now she is paying the penalty.

I wish you and your family all the best going forward. I hope that you get the education you deserve and that your mother finds happiness in her home country. Perhaps she can work to make it a better place that so many of its citizens don't want to leave so badly.

Posted by Zero Population Growth Advocate on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 5:16 pm

The immigration system is, indeed, broken. But not because folks who have violated immigration law have been deported. Rather, it's because we allow too many legal and illegal immigrants into the US in the first place.

The Statue of Liberty is a statue, it's not the last word on immigration law. The constitution does not guarantee any right to immigrate nor do its provisions cover non citizens. In short, the US owes your mother nothing.

Her home country of Mexico owes her something, but has failed to come through for her, so she looked elsewhere. I don't blame her, I would do the same thing in her place. But let's put the blame where it belongs, on the failed state of Mexico, and not on US immigration law.

I'm fascinated by this quote-

"They were lured by a country that offers opportunities here and pursues policies that shut them down elsewhere. "

Lured by a country? What does that mean? That sentence sounds as nonsensical in Spanish as in English, I'm afraid. Inanimate objects like countries don't "lure" things.

The fact is, your mother was unhappy in Mexico for a variety of reasons and she wanted to come to the US. She was not "lured" here, but came voluntarily. And she was not doing me or anyone else who is a US citizen any favors.

She then wasted lots of taxpayer money running from the law because she preferred living in the allegedly 'racist' US instead of that 'bastion of fair play and tolerance' known as Mexico.

I sympathize with your plight, but not your mother's. She broke the law, she got caught, and now she is paying the penalty.

I wish you and your family all the best going forward. I hope that you get the education you deserve and that your mother finds happiness in her home country. Perhaps she can work to make it a better place that so many of its citizens don't want to leave so badly.

Posted by Zero Population Growth Advocate on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 5:17 pm

The immigration system is, indeed, broken. But not because folks who have violated immigration law have been deported. Rather, it's because we allow too many legal and illegal immigrants into the US in the first place.

The Statue of Liberty is a statue, it's not the last word on immigration law. The constitution does not guarantee any right to immigrate nor do its provisions cover non citizens. In short, the US owes your mother nothing.

Her home country of Mexico owes her something, but has failed to come through for her, so she looked elsewhere. I don't blame her, I would do the same thing in her place. But let's put the blame where it belongs, on the failed state of Mexico, and not on US immigration law.

I'm fascinated by this quote-

"They were lured by a country that offers opportunities here and pursues policies that shut them down elsewhere. "

Lured by a country? What does that mean? That sentence sounds as nonsensical in Spanish as in English, I'm afraid. Inanimate objects like countries don't "lure" things.

The fact is, your mother was unhappy in Mexico for a variety of reasons and she wanted to come to the US. She was not "lured" here, but came voluntarily. And she was not doing me or anyone else who is a US citizen any favors.

She then wasted lots of US taxpayer money running from the law because she preferred living in the allegedly 'racist' US instead of that 'bastion of fair play and tolerance' known as Mexico.

I sympathize with your plight, but not your mother's. She broke the law, she got caught, and now she is paying the penalty.

I wish you and your family all the best going forward. I hope that you get the education you deserve and that your mother finds happiness in her home country. Perhaps she can work to make it a better place that so many of its citizens don't want to leave so badly.

Posted by Zero Population Growth Advocate on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 5:19 pm

The immigration system is, indeed, broken. But not because folks who have violated immigration law have been deported. Rather, it's because we allow too many legal and illegal immigrants into the US in the first place.

The Statue of Liberty is a statue, it's not the last word on immigration law. The constitution does not guarantee any right to immigrate nor do its provisions cover non citizens. In short, the US owes your mother nothing.

Her home country of Mexico owes her something, but has failed to come through for her, so she looked elsewhere. I don't blame her, I would do the same thing in her place. But let's put the blame where it belongs, on the failed state of Mexico, and not on US immigration law.

I'm fascinated by this quote-

"They were lured by a country that offers opportunities here and pursues policies that shut them down elsewhere. "

Lured by a country? What does that mean? That sentence sounds as nonsensical in Spanish as in English, I'm afraid. Inanimate objects like countries don't "lure" things.

The fact is, your mother was unhappy in Mexico for a variety of reasons and she wanted to come to the US. She was not "lured" here, but came voluntarily. And she was not doing me or anyone else who is a US citizen any favors.

She then wasted lots of taxpayer money running from the law because she preferred living in the allegedly 'racist' US instead of that 'bastion of fair play and tolerance' known as Mexico.

I sympathize with your plight, but not your mother's. She broke the law, she got caught, and now she is paying the penalty.

I wish you and your family all the best going forward. I hope that you get the education you deserve and that your mother finds happiness in her home country. Perhaps she can work to make it a better place that so many of its citizens don't want to leave so badly.

Posted by Zero Population Growth Advocate on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 5:22 pm

Sorry for all the repeats, they were unintentional!

Posted by Zero Population Growth Advocate on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 5:26 pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.