I came to Chicago in 1989, married and we filed for my green card. Immigration lost my file, and when I asked questions, I was put into deportation proceedings. My spouse was not concerned; he just wanted me to pay his rent. Judge gave me voluntary departure, and being young, naive and trusting, and with poor legal advice, and realising I had married someone who didn’t care about me, I complied with the order.
I re-entered the US in 1996, a man raped me in my apartment in 1998. I made a police report, but he had threatened to kill me. I put it behind me, started to build a life and some friends, and eventually met and married my current spouse Joel Carreon in 2001, and we filed for my green card. 9-11 happened. We waited, we also waited on starting a family; we contacted our senator, Dick Durbin, and always got letters that stated there would be a decision in 60 days..This went on for seven years. I couldn’t do anything because I was not in any kind of status…. I put a lot of effort into helping my spouse repair his credit, so he could get school loans, etc, taking care of his family’s problems, etc. I thought I had a real family at last.
My spouse, enjoying his new affluence and unbeknownst to me, met someone else, and start planning a new life for himself. He always said everything was fine, and that we would grow old together. Instead, he changed his bank account and his job, and announced that he had never wanted kids with me, he wanted me to move out, and that he had only wanted the house for his parents. It was utterly shocking, and devastating. Many people who knew us, still don’t believe this, I can’t reconcile it with the person I married myself. Apparently that person has gone, changed forever. It was my money that bought the house. Under IL law, he gets half. Ok.
But apparently half was not enough for him, and so on May 9, 08, I was arrested by Immigration. During the arrest, I had a life-threatening seizure. ICE then forced me while in the hospital on a drip, to sign a document saying that I was free. I believed it. They revoked it a week later, and dragged me off to jail. I was held in filthy jails for four months, and witnessed and was subject to abuse, and many denials of everyone’s rights. Stupid me, I thought I had rights. I was dumped at Heathrow airport on Sept 11, 08.
Geoff Heeren, of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago has filed for a U Visa for me, based on the rape in 1998. Immigration is now stalling the decision on granting that visa. I just want to come home, to dance with my friends and get on with the rest of my life in Chicago, which I consider my home.