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The Voice of the Undocumented Parent

“The Voice of the Undocumented Parent”  as shared at the Immigration Forum, in Warrenton, Virginia on April 28, 2015. The voices of the undocumented immigrants are frequently not heard and they often feel marginalized.  We wanted to give them a voice.  Here is the first Voice  that was heard at The Barn, in Warrenton, Virginia at the Lord Fairfax Community College.

THE VOICE of the UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT PARENT

I am the voice of the undocumented parent who made the tough decision to come to the U.S. with my family because I could no longer feed them.  There were no jobs in my small town. There were drug cartels forcing kids to sell drugs.  There was a lot of violence.  I heard there were employers who needed workers in the U.S.   I didn’t know if there was a way to get a visa or not, but I knew if I could just get here …. If I could just get here, there would be a way, no matter what.

You cannot imagine what a tough decision it was and how scary it was to pack up the family and to come to a country I didn’t know, where they spoke a language I could not speak.   But I had a dream of a better life for my children and that if we worked hard enough, no matter what, maybe my children could live a better life.

I am so very grateful to be here.There are so many good people here.  Yet it has not been easy. I know my children lose sleep and worry that I might get deported.  They are afraid of the police.  They are afraid that our family may be separated.  They hear stories.  I have two other children who were born in the U.S.  I would do anything to get a work permit, to be able to drive a car legally, get car insurance and have legal status. I don’t know how to do it …. And so I continue to work hard, live in the shadows, stay out of trouble, and live with the hope that some day, I can be a full member of this country that I love and want to serve.

 

 

Fauquier Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deportation Impact on Family – Immigration lawyer wonders: Did I push too hard?

I am choking back tears.  As I listen to the Mother of three U.S. Citizen children share with me the hell she and her children live through daily,  as they prepare for the day an immigration judge will decide if their ‘papa” is going to be deported to Mexico.  I am struggling to choke back tears.  I need her to get in touch with the reality that their 4 year old daughter, their 9 year old daughter, and their 15 year old son, may end up living  here in poverty without their dad; without his love and gentleness and kindness.  I need her to face the alternative if that the Judge deports her loving husband, the whole family will return to Mexico, to live in one of the poorest neighborhoods in their town,  without a place to live, without a job, money, or hope.

She needs to bare her soul, to tell her story, so that an Immigration Judge can feel her pain, can feel the extraordinary hardship the children and this mother feel.  I wonder if I pushed too hard.

When the mom tells me that she is dry inside, that she wants to end it all, but knows she cannot because of the children, I wonder if I pushed too hard.   When she tells me that she is afraid that one of her little babies could be kidnapped for ransom because the gang and drug cartels in Mexico believe that they have money if they lived in the U.S.  I think I am about to burst.  When I think how much I hurt inside, when my children hurt, I can barely contain myself as I continue to listen to her share her pain.

Mom has gotten in touch with those feelings and is crying.  I began to wonder if I pushed too hard … I am concerned that perhaps I just opened her up, broke down that wall that kept her from crying, that after she opens up with her gut-wrenching story, she is left open and vulnerable, with nothing to soothe her than the raw emotions.  She has diabetes and I worry about how the stress and emotions will impact her health.

When she tells me that her 4 year old goes out every day to take of the horses with her daddy, with boots that look just like his, though two sizes too big ….  I feel the water behind mine eyes …  and I wonder if pushed too hard.  And then I wonder, why do little innocent children have to suffer so much … their daddy is a hard working gentle soul .. he earns about $400/week, working 6 to 7 days a week … and he gets free housing.  He has been here over 15 years.

The mother leaves … she is drained and exhausted. I see the pain in her eyes ….  And I wonder , concerned now about her emotional well-being… wondering if pushed too hard.

Fauquier Times Community Voices Editorial: Undocumented Immigrants – there I said it by Donusia Lipinski

“Undocumented Immigrants” – there, I said it.  These two words alone create such a strong emotional charge for many, on both sides of the issue.  Some cannot believe how poorly we treat each other as human beings; and others cannot understand why we don’t just send them all back home.   Two very polarized views. Unauthorized immigration will only end as we know it when we change the way we think about immigration as a whole and understand the reasons it occurs in the first place.

There are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. They comprise 5.2 of the workforce.  In Virginia, they are 3.1% of the workforce and account for $9.7 billion of the gross state product.  If all unauthorized or undocumented immigrants were removed from Virginia, the state would lose $11.2 billion in economic activity; and approximately 62,918 jobs.

Getting personal – beyond all the numbers and statistics, who are the “undocumented immigrants”?   First and foremost, they are human beings. They are parents, grandparents, children, spouses, employees, business and property owners, entrepreneurs, taxpayers, and friends to many in the community.   Second, even though they may seem invisible, we know they clean our offices and homes, take care of the elderly and disabled; mow our lawns, fix our fences; work in construction, in restaurants.  Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants have been in the US for 10 or more years.  Many are loved by their employers; others are taken advantage of; employed and paid less because of their status.

Fauquier County is the 8th richest County in the U.S.  I believe that at least some of this wealth was built on the backs of undocumented immigrants. I hear from the farmers and horse owners that they are only able to run their operations because of the undocumented immigrants whom they know and love.

To see the rest of the “Our Community Voices” editorial written by Donusia Lipinski, managing immigration lawyer and founder of Blue Ridge Immigration Law Center, PLLC in Warrenton, VA, published on November, 6, 2013  in the Fauquier Times, please go to Fauquier Times Article

 

Extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduras

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) has been exteneded for people from Honduras who are currently on TPS, for 18 months from July 6, 2013 through January 5, 2015.  This allows currently eligible TPS beneficiaries to keep TPS through January 5, 2015. The Secretary from the Department of Homeland Security determined that an extension is warranted because there continues to be a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in Honduras resulting from Hurricane Mitch, and Honduras remains temporaily unable to adequately handle  the return of its nationals.  

TPS Extended through: January 5, 2015
Re-registration period for People Who Already Have TPS: April 3, 2013 – June 3, 2013
Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Auto-Extended Through: January 5, 2014
Continuous Residence in U.S. Since: December 30, 1998
Continuous Physical Presence in U.S. Since: January 5, 1999
TPS Designation Date: January 5, 1999
Federal Register Notice Citation: 78 FR 20123