Fast forward to 2009 and I'm signing the paperwork for my first home. I literally built it with my sweat and tears through a program called Habitat for Humanity that helps stable lower income people buy volunteer built homes at zero percent interest. Oh, my home is a beauty! She has three bedrooms, two baths, and a one car garage. I lovingly call her my "single wide" because she is a long and narrow like a trailer. We have solar panels on the roof of the garage, my house is heated by radiant floor heating, and we are LEED certified, earthy friendly, treehugger loving kind of goodness. That all seems great until you understand where we come from.
I was born in the 70's and raised by a single mother with three daughters on her own. We moved frequently in search of hippie heaven and our "homes" included tents, busses, teepee's, A-frames, shacks, bush cabins, you name it. I moved roughly 30 times before I turned 18 years old. Stability and a home to call my own weren't in my vocabulary. A bad relationship at a young age found me homeless and living in a car during a cold Pacific Northwest winter with an infant daughter and an abusive partner.
My husband grew up in rural Mexico with dirt floors where you could find chickens or scorpions running around the lot if you weren't careful. He was born in the same house as his mother and the house was filled to the brim with multiple generations that included grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and all their folk. You could easily see the sky while lying down in the bedroom. His mother was also single and raising three children. He could count the number of addresses he'd had on one hand.
Finally becoming a homeowner at 36 years of age felt like an impossible dream come true. As soon as the ink was dry on the paperwork, we eloped to Las Vegas with our three girls in tow. Blending two families and two cultures is no easy feat and we've certainly had our ups and downs along the way but ten years later, we're still here and every bit as much in love.Now if you are one of the millions of Americans who believe that an American spouse is a direct line to a permanent residence card aka green card, don't worry, you are not alone. Just read and follow along with our adventures as we navigate the turbulent waters of the US Immigration system.
January 18, 2007- We began dating
August 19, 2009- We are married in Las Vegas, NV
October 29, 2010- Our I-130 is approved, the USCIS believes we have a valid marriage.
March 15, 2013- Mailed off our I-601A Provisional waiver to the USCIS Lockbox $585
June 14, 2013- USCIS denies our I-601A Provisional Waiver due to a newly announced "Reason to Believe" clause. José has a misdemeanor charge for using a fake SSN at the DMV in 2000. This does not qualify under CIMT and should not have been a denial for our case.
January 9, 2014- José attends the consular appointment in Ciudad Juarez and is found to be eligible to apply for the waiver of unlawful presence but he is charged with human trafficking for bringing his son across the US border with him. This is not a lifetime ban as it was his son and for the intent of family unity.
January 10, 2014-We move the whole family to Tlaxcala, Mexico to wait out the immigration nightmare.
March 17, 2014-USCIS officially receives our I-601 Waiver for Unlawful Presence $585
March 29, 2014- USCIS reopens our previously denied I-601A as review has determined it should not have been denied initially.
April 3, 2014-USCIS denies our I-601A waiver. We assume it's based on the human trafficking charge from his interview as this waiver only addresses unlawful presence and nothing more.
June 24, 2014-USCIS approves our I-601 waiver, Jose will get to receive his permanent resident visa.
July 25, 2014-My husband crosses the US-Mexico border between Tijuana, BCN and San Ysidro, CA and officially becomes a Legal Permanent Resident.
April 25, 2017-Jose will be eligible to apply for United States citizenship based on his marriage to a US citizen. We will be using the services of Callie Killebrew with Bend Immigration Group.