Efrain and I met in July 2007, our daughter was born in July 2009 and we married in August of 2009. In July 2009, a routine traffic stop in Norcross, GA triggered Efrain being detained by ICE due to Gwinnett County’s participation in the 287(g) program. Efrain has no criminal history in Honduras or the United States. In November 2009, he returned to Honduras and I hired an immigration attorney to assist in obtaining permanent residency for my husband. In March 2011, the US Embassy in Honduras told us that my husband has to wait until November 2014 before we can begin the process anew of applying for an immigrant visa. The US Embassy made the decision to punish Efrain for not appearing in immigration court in 2005 despite the overwhelming evidence presented that his family, who are all US citizens, are undergoing extreme hardship due to his deportation.
I am a teacher and a mother with four children ages 3 to 17, all of US Citizens. My husband is a resident of Honduras. Our family has been torn apart by the US immigration laws. My husband was punished (due to his unlawful presence in the US), but what they really have done is punish our whole family as we live separated and torn apart. I am raising 4 children by myself, and they are bereft of a father figure because the US embassy in Honduras will not allow my husband to come to live with us in Atlanta. I do not earn enough money to support a family of five and my children now have no father figure in their lives. Due to the cost of travel and my financial constraints, I am only able to visit my husband three times a year.
When my husband was deported more than 3 years ago, I hired an immigration attorney and followed the standard procedure to obtain residency for my husband. We are now being required to wait 2 more years before he can even apply to immigrate to the US. If my husband were granted a visa and allowed to immigrate, he would work and our financial situation would be much better. My children would have a father and I would have a husband for emotional and spiritual support. The people who are suffering the most from this situation are five American citizens.
I believe our government values the principle of Family Values and that one function of government is to support American families when it can. I am not asking for money or for a special favor for a violent or irresponsible criminal. I am asking my government to allow our family to live together in Atlanta, Georgia. The US government has disregarded the basic needs of my family; instead they have forced me to raise our four children in a fatherless home. While we understand that we must follow US laws and regulations, we believe it is overly harsh to make our family wait 5 years until we can apply to be reunited. Five years to a 14 year old means that child will be an adult and out on her own. I need help from my husband to raise my children. Please remember US Citizens in the upcoming immigration reform, as we deserve to be treated just as equal as anyone else living in this country.