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Deporting Love: A Married Couple’s Journey to Stay in the United States

On November 28, 2005, Enrique Gonzalez walked across the border to pursue a safe and prosperous life in the U.S. Afraid of gang recruitment in El Salvador and seeking to escape to a safe place with opportunities to work to help himself and his family, after two days of processing and detention, he was taken (by immigration officials) to a Texas bus station where he was left to find his way in what would become his new home, the United States of America. Thirteen years later, with a U.S. Immigration approved marriage to a citizen, Enrique is being deported.

In the January 2017 Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, the Trump administration laid out a much wider dragnet authorizing and empowering ICE in the deportation of undocumented.  Unlike the discretion of the Obama Administration, as evidenced in the 2011 Memo, which exercised a great deal of flexibility the Trump Administration's laser-sharp focus is on the numbers! Every undocumented …

How Hard Will You Push to Stop The Collapse of Civilization?

Stunned even-still by the heinous crimes the US Gov't is unleashing on the immigrant population, I'm in my home office this morning as we are having previously scheduled concrete work completed as we prepare to list and sell our home. Still facing deportation, the recent approval of our "Motion to Reconsider" served only to give us some breathing room while justice is far from served.  My husband and millions of other immigrants in America remains the targets of an administration of hate. A long and uphill battle remains as the Trump, Sessions, and ICE dragnet continues.

Between the loud and rumbling swings of hammers breaking apart decades of old concrete, I watch from my office window as a team of Latino workers makes dozens of trips with wheelbarrows filled with heavy concrete from the back of our house to the trailer in the front. Out back, the hammers are deafening as their brute-force breaks apart the old to make way for the new. 

Emotions stir as my heart is breaking for the injustice of it all as, on this very morning, instead of working on my typical administrative duties as a Realtor, home improvement expert, and aspiring neighborhood revitalization leader, I'm in my office bright and early researching case law and legal jargon in search for a strategic pathway to bring a Federal lawsuit against this administration. 

"Am I really in this place in my life? Is this really happening?," I ask myself as I gaze from my window in a moment of reflection. In disbelief that a nation where just three years ago (to the day), the Obama Administration had made such strides towards equality and had sparked the flames of hope, not just for the immigrant and undocumented population among us, but for the LGBTQ+, women's groups, and other oppressed members of the free nation.

The White House, once brightly lit with the colors of pride that June 30th 2015, is now shrouded in darkness and hate as the country is under siege by a xenophobic administration that is systematically dismantling the progress of Freedom.

In stark contrast to the Trump Administration's language of hate, President Obama celebrated inclusion from the White House, "I did not have a chance to comment on how good the White House looked in rainbow colors," Obama announced. "That made it a really good week. To see people gathered in the evening outside on a beautiful summer night and to feel whole, and to feel accepted, and to feel that they had the right to love...that was pretty cool." the President concluded.

In a moment of irony, I watch as the Hispanics are hard at work improving our home in preparation for what could be the inevitable and unplanned sell as we continue to face deportation threats. The celebration of our small victory this week with the announcement of our accepted "Motion to Reopen," is short-lived as  the Trump administration continues to find ways to stop all efforts towards legalization.

As the workers  (some perhaps undocumented - we have no way to know as we hired a 3rd-party company -  [not that it would matter to us anyway]) break away the old concrete, I am hard at work researching and writing in hopes of finding ways to bring a final stop to the unconscionable and systematic destruction of equality and immigrant rights.

President Obama's human-centered approach towards immigration took into account that real people's lives would be affected by immigration reform and other policy changes. In many cases, and long before Obama sought to fix such issues, the United States government enabled and empowered the undocumented individuals to stay within our borders. With the government's issuance of tax IDs, and following US tax code that promised discretion to undocumented residents who demonstrated "good moral character" by paying into US tax coffers, the Gov't aided and abetted the creation of what is now being called "criminals." Enrique has paid for nearly 13 years. Where's the justice?

The Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policies strip far more than humility and freedom from these people. Comprised mostly of innocent law-abiding people - (the very people the nation once helped to stay and contributor to society) - the Administration's barbaric separation of families and disrespect of the human beings who once ran from persecution or were seeking only basic human survival, is tantamount to white-collar domestic terrorism.  Classifying every last one of them as criminals, rapists, "bad hombres," and uneducated, the Trump administration seeks to vilify millions of innocent people in the court of public opinion.

Washington Post: Donald trumps False Comments Connecting Mexican Immigrants and Crime

Obama understood the issues, "Let's say you came to this country as a 3-year-old with your parents and overstayed your visa. You felt American. You graduated from high school and college, and you fell in love with a U.S. citizen and got married. But upon applying for legal status, through your spouse, you got stopped by immigration authorities, arrested, and told you'd be deported." His policies on DACA and immigration reform were nothing less than compassionate. 

While our case differs only in that Enrique crossed the border more than a decade ago and turned himself in (in other words, he did not overstay), the circumstances remain the same. The Republican-conservative regime would have us deported before we are even able to receive our green card. Under the unilateral control of the Department of Justice and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, all prior legal mechanisms that could have been used to allow my husband to stay, on the basis of our (immigration approved) marriage to a US citizen spouse, have been abolished. Our case, like many, deserves due process and judicial discretion both of which are being trampled on by Sessions' policies,

How Sessions Is Making an Overstretched Deportation System Even Less Fair

Let's say you came to this country as a 3-year-old with your parents and overstayed your visa. You felt American. You graduated from high school and college, and you fell in love with a U.S. citizen and got married. But upon applying for legal status, through your spouse, you got stopped by immigration authorities, arrested, and told you'd be deported.

As I sit in my office in reflection, as I watch the exceedingly hard work that is being carried out on our project, and as we prepare for the inevitable deportation paused only in a short reprieve yet soon to hit the desk of an immigration judge stripped of judicial powers, I am feverishly working to uncover what rights may be available to the undocumented in America.  Is there no recourse for the millions of families like ours who have simply worked, loved, played, paid, and gave so much of themselves to this community - our home - our Country?

Equal Protection

OverviewThe Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S.
According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law, "The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from denying any person within its territory the equal protection of the laws. This means that a state must treat an individual in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances. The Federal Government must do the same, but this is required by the Fifth Amendment Due Process.

The point of the equal protection clause is to force a state to govern impartially—not draw distinctions between individuals solely on differences that are irrelevant to a legitimate governmental objective. Thus, the equal protection clause is crucial to the protection of civil rights."  The first of many stops in my quest for information as I seek to uncover a single shred of hope (law) to empower our efforts to take this administration on full-throttle.  

We must seek amnesty for those in the nation pre-Trump. More immediately, we must move immigration oversight out of the DOJ's hands and into the executive branch. A single individual holding control over millions of people's lives is preposterous. We must give back judicial discretion to immigration judges and to ensure due process is adhered to. When the day is done, we must abolish the draconian policing and dehumanizing efforts of ICE.

But what can you do? In a Democratic fundraising event last evening, Obama said it best, "If you are one of these folks who is watching cable news at your cocktail parties with your friends and you are saying 'civilization is collapsing' and you are nervous and worried, but that is not where you are putting all your time, energy and money, then either you don't actually think civilization is collapsing ... or you are not pushing yourself hard enough and I would push harder."

Obama offers Democrats tough love

Former President Barack Obama, re-emerging into the political fray for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser here on Thursday, had a message for troubled Democrats: Do more than just mope.
Not that middle-class citizens are attending cocktail parties or pouring money into political campaigns, moreover, every citizen who enjoys freedom must take heed that indeed civilization is on the brink of collapse.  We must ask of ourselves, our families, and our friends, "What more can I do to push harder to stop the hemorrhaging of liberty and justice 'for all'?"  As a gay US citizen in love with and married to an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador who is about to be unjustly stripped of my civil rights and potentially deported into harm's way, I can honestly say I've never been more frightened. I'm pushing harder! Are you?