This immigration story does not have the happy ending that our’s does, but it does create its own happiness and shines a light on yet another reason why our immigration system needs an overhaul. Please read!
We are one step closer to getting Greysis home. It is a small step, but a step none-the-less. We are currently waiting for Greysis’ instruction letter to arrive so we know what his next steps are. Before that can even happen though, it has to show up in the USCIS computer system. One would think that this would happen immediately once the approval letter was generated but it does not. It can sometimes take a month or more for the approval to show up in the system. However, I just called today and it is now showing up. This means that he will hopefully receive his instruction letter very soon. Once he receives his instruction letter, all that is left is a trip to Ciudad Juarez for the medical exam and just a little bit more waiting while he sends his passport in and waits for them to send it back to him with the visa in it. Slowly but surely we are getting there.
On another note, I leave for Cancun on Friday. After five long months I am finally going to see my husband and this time, when I leave, it will not be a giant sob fest but rather an I-will-see-you-really-soon-dance fest! I can’t believe it has been five months. Part of me wonders how it is possible that five months have gone by this fast and part of me wonders just the opposite, how has it only been five months? There have been so many days where the past five months have taken forever and where I felt that I would never see my husband. I am glad I can put those days behind me and know that he will be home soon and be with his family here. I am not at all ready for this trip though. This is the first time I have ever been this unprepared for a trip. I am hoping all of the packing will get done tonight. It has to get done tonight. I am driving up to Minneapolis tomorrow night and fly out early early Friday morning, so getting packed is not really an option anymore. All I want is to just get down there and be with my husband and spend nine days relaxing and just enjoying the time with him.
I thought about dividing these three topics up into three different posts, but I did not want to bombard people with posts today, so I am just combining this into one post. First and foremost, I want everyone to know that this blog will not be going anywhere. It was my intent when we started this process two and a half years ago that this blog would transform into an immigration reform blog once our personal journey was complete. Greysis and I have no intent to stop fighting for immigration reform. It will be a lifelong goal for the two of us and we are hellbent on seeing it through.
Ok, so what does this mean? A good majority of my phone calls have gone like this today:
Me: We got our approval letter!
Friend/Family Member: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Hurray! Oh my gosh that is wonderful!!!…so what does that mean?
What this means is that Greysis’ I601 waiver was approved. As our I130 was approved about a year ago, this was our final step in the process. As a little recap, the I130 was the application for Greysis to apply for a permanent resident visa based on our marriage (yes, you have to apply to apply). It had to show that our marriage was a real marriage and not a marriage to get a green card. That was approved, but when he actually applied for the Visa, that was denied as he had been residing in the country undocumented for over a year. This denial meant that he was barred from the US for 10 years. The I601, which is what was approved today, was a waiver showing that if Greysis were to have to stay in Mexico for 10 years, it would cause me extreme hardship. We had to show this from two different sides: me living here without him and me living in Mexico with him. If the USCIS decided that our case warranted extreme hardship, then they would remove the 10 year bar and Greysis would be allowed to come back into the country. So what this means is that Greysis is allowed to come back into the country and does not have to wait out the 10 year bar. He does not have his visa yet and I would like to stress that this is not citizenship. In three years when he is able to apply for citizenship, that will become a new topic on this blog.
So, what’s next? Greysis will not be coming home tomorrow and will most likely not be home for another month or so. I will still be going down to Mexico in August. I want to see my husband, I want to go to my cousin’s wedding and I want to see my in-laws. So I am still going. Plus the plane ticket is already purchased. So with that said, here are the next steps for Greysis. I have received the approval letter but he has not yet. We have to wait until he receives an approval letter that will hopefully have an instruction letter with it. The instruction letter tells us exactly what his next steps are. What it will most likely say is that he needs to go back to Ciudad Juarez for another medical exam as his expired in May (they are only good for six months). Once he gets the results from his medical exam, he will take that back with him to Cancun. From there the instruction letter will most likely ask us to send the medical exam results, his passport and the instruction letter to Ciudad Juarez via DHL. Why he can’t turn all of this in while he’s there, I have no clue! Then we wait until they send his passport back to him with the visa inside and then he will be able to come home. There is only one that could trip this plan up. There is something called administrative processing that if they were to send him there, would mean that we had a very long wait ahead of us. Usually that is done after the initial appointment and not after the approval, but it can happen. I am going to remain optimistic that it won’t though. Barring any unforeseen complications, Greysis should for sure be home by October, although we kind of hoping that he will be home in time for our anniversary.
Now the shock part. I spent a good hour or so calling family and friends this morning and crying tons. Then I had to pull myself together, shower up, and focus on homework for a while. Now, I think the shock has set in. I keep pulling out the letter and staring at it. It seems like this has been going on for so long that the idea of having an end in clear sight is just completely incomprehensible. The idea of having my husband back in our house blows my mind. It has been almost nine months since he left and will probably get to ten before he is home. But he will be home. It is insane and nerve wracking and wonderful and crazy and a million other words all at the same time. I cannot believe I made it. Without all of you, I would not have. I do not doubt at all that all of you are the reason that I have gotten to this point and am able to joyfully write about my husband coming home. The ride is not over. But we are so close. Thank you.
There is no other way to say this…
WE RECEIVED OUR APPROVAL LETTER TODAY!!!!
More information to come when I am able to stop crying.
So, I have developed a new obsession. I’m not sure if it is good, but I do not think it is bad. So, you already know about the forum that I am on, well, I have now been added to a Facebook page that does essentially the same thing but on a smaller scale and deals solely with those cases that have gone through Ciudad Juarez. My new obsession is this: I check the page and the forum numerous times a day looking for people who have been recently approved. If they have been approved, I immediately check their timeline to see how it compares to mine and Greysis’. In the last week or so, I have started to notice that there are more and more cases being approved that were referred to Anaheim right around the same time our case was. What I have been told is that the Anaheim office works on cases by month. So they were working on cases that were referred in November and when all of those were done, they started working cases that were referred in December and so on. So now it appears that they are somewhere between the end of January and the beginning of March. Greysis and I were referred on February 22nd. I cannot help but be hopeful. I cannot help but go home and check the mail every afternoon hoping with all of my heart that there will be an approval letter sitting there for us. I cannot help but hope. If what I have been told is right, and they do work on the cases by month, then we cannot be two far out. I have only been tracking those cases that have been sent to Anaheim. I have not paid much attention to those that were sent to other offices or stayed in Juarez. I am only worried about what Anaheim is processing and they seem to be processing our time frame. I just want Greysis to come home. I know he will not be able to come home with me in August, but if I could take an approval letter down to show him when I go down, that would be so incredible. I know I am getting ahead of myself and I know that checking these pages so many times a day is not healthy, but I cannot help it. I just want my husband home. Enough is enough. So, if you feel like throwing out a little extra hope or good juju or prayers or positive thoughts, or whatever works best for you, we would appreciate it. I know our case is just around the corner. I know it is. We just have to wait it out and it will be here soon.
This is very much what we need to happen. Greysis and I could have stayed together had this law already been implemented.
By: Raisa Camargo
Encarnacion Bail Romero, a native of Guatemala, was apprehended in a federal immigration raid in 2007 and torn from her then-seven-month son.
Romero had her parental rights terminated while in federal custody after a judge ruled “illegally smuggling herself into the country…
This depression goes in waves. For about a week or so, I am good and then it goes down hill, way down hill, and then eventually comes back up. Right now I feel like I am on a slippery slope downward and I can’t make it stop. But this is not the time. I have a week and a half of summer classes left, I am trying to get in some sort of shape for my trip to Mexico, I have this new roommate who does not know me and has just seen me curled up on the bed every night for the last few nights. Right now is not the time. I do not like this. I do not like my lack of control over it. I hate these bad days I just want them to end. Every time I talk to Greysis as of late he tells me how much he wants to come home; that he misses his Wisconsin and his Eau Claire and his family. This has gone so much longer than either of us planned and neither of us were prepared for this. I was prepared for four to six months tops. Now we’re coming up on nine months since he left and I am not any closer to feeling less cuckoo. Just feeling more cuckoo, more sad, more lonely and more tired. I need to focus. I have school. I have to get through this. I have one semester left of classes and then my thesis and I am done. I just need to get through this and yet I cannot seem to muster up enough energy to sit myself up straight and actually do the work I need to do. I am tired of the up and down waves. I am tired of this process. I am tired.
I am reblogging this with the hope that it will gain a little more ground this time around. Please spread far and wide.
Dear President Obama,
In November of 2008, I sat on my friend’s couch and cried as I watch the news stations declare you the winner of the 2008 presidential elections. Tears streamed down my face as I watched your acceptance speech. I called my mom and sister and my brother and we all cried…
Every now and then I get these little bouts of anxiety thinking about all of things that we are going to have to do when Greysis gets approved. Unfortunately, it is not just as simple as he gets approved and gets to come home. One would think that after all we have been through, it would be that easy, but it is not. After we are approved, we have to wait for an instruction letter. This can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months to get. After Greysis gets his instruction letter, he has to fly back to Juarez and have a second medical exam as his expired after six months (which would have been back in the beginning of May). There are no appointments, he literally has take a $300 flight to pay another $200+ for a second medical exam because it has to be done at a consulate approved facility. Then he has to spend the night and go pick up the results of the medical exam the next day. Then the exam has to get sent to the consulate. We have to send it via DHL. We can’t just drop it off since he will be in Juarez, it has to be sent via DHL with his passport and then we wait. We have to wait for them to get the medical exam and the passport, review everything, and send the visa and passport back to us. After all of that, then he can finally come home. It is nerve racking to think about and I try not to think about it often, but sometimes I can’t help it. I just want him home so much and to think that we could have to wait another couple of months after his approval drives me a little bonkers. Well, more bonkers I guess since I am already bonkers. I will just be happy when this is done and we can be glad we did it and glad it’s done. We are both so very ready for our lives to move forward rather than being stuck in one place.