Tuesday, November 13, 2012


      We had two different school experiences in Mexico. 
First one was at a private school that last a few months, called Moderno Americano run by a woman named Miss Lupita from Tijuana/San Diego area… 
       ...the second, which was basically their elementary education was the public school. The school's name was Otilio E. Montana. It was within the condominium complex that we lived in, but it was at the top of the hill/small mountain. As far as a school system bus transportation – non-existent. So everyone will walk up the hill together or get a ride from one of the plentiful taxis or if, like my one friend who lived in the next town over, jump on the route (bus) that was stationed at the bottom of the hill on the corner, then walk up the hill. It was approximately a mile walk for us. School started at 8am and ended at 1pm in the mid-day heat. I believe that most of the education system in Mexico is fairly similar to this type of scenario. I went through two pregnancies so there were times when I gave the kids a few pesos, actually it was 3 pesos each, for the bici-taxi, exactly what it sounds like, a cart pulled by a bike, so that I could stay home and not do the walk. The neighborhood generally looked out for children and most knew who my kids were, so we were okay with them being out alone to a point (safety has changed since those times as of recent there have been an increase in kidnappings with money demands due to the rise in poverty in our area, might be worse now that Nieto is president). We had a mini-van that I originally drove into Mexico from Florida. I was 3 months pregnant at the time. It took 4 days. Our van was broke down pretty often mostly due to the flooding, but once it was my fault because I tried to "gun-it" through the high water that was collected under the overpass from the run-off of the watered crops nearby. It was late, I had just dropped off clothes to my husband at his sister’s store that he slept on the floor some nights because he worked across the street at 4 am and it was easier that way. So I got the van stalled in the middle of the overpass in 3 feet of water... needless to say, I never heard the end of that big attempt at being super mom because our van was broke down for gosh like a year. I did not see much of Ricardo ever that first year because of his job was more like an ownership of his life… he worked from 4am till 10pm every day but Sunday. So I was basically on my own with the kids. The kids and I did not know 10 words of Spanish between the three of us. I tried my best to teach them with pictures that I would draw and look up in the translating dictionary and write the English and Spanish version of what the picture that I drew was and taped these pictures everywhere for them. I enrolled them in a private school when it came time for the school year to begin. In the months before-hand they learned a lot of Spanish from the kids (friends outside and their cousins). They all played out in the parking lot every night. I stayed in the house mostly because I was getting bigger by the day with my 5th pregnancy. I had two kids in the States that were to a previous marriage. So… lots of emotions to challenge us all. But we did okay. We figured out how to purchase food to eat and we ate a lot of tortillas with cheese and spaghetti because we were not only unable to converse, but we were also unable to cook Mexican cuisine. ;) 
      We were very poor in the beginning and we did not have furniture. There was a refrigerator that the people before us left behind because it was broken and we had it turned on its side to utilize as the only thing in the room to put the TV on that Ricardo had stored in his sister's house while he was in the USA. But we could not afford beds for over a year. When the kids were enrolled in the private school, it cost a lot of money. People assumed that we had money because we were American. We generally had to be really careful about who charged what for what. I can say this because we were there long enough that we became part of the community, thoroughly assimilated, so I can compare how it was at the beginning as opposed to later as we lived like typical Mexicans. My father agreed to send the money for the private school because we were in a difficult position with securing their education in a land that we were not yet bilingual. The money went from him to us and right out of our hands into the hands of the “directora” of the school. It was difficult to live under those conditions when the amount of money that we paid for their school could have changed our quality of life at that time. I washed our clothes in a sink with a scrub brush for nearly 3 years and eventually we were able to buy a washing machine. We withdrew them from the school in November of that school year and my dad did not send the money anymore which is what the in-laws were assuming, but only right I could not scam my own father even if we were that poor. I flew up to San Diego a day before my due date, gave birth while staying at my sisters, and flew back as soon as they released my new son. He had to stay a week in ICU because of a bacteria level. So we returned, we enrolled the kids in public school - the Otilio Montana school in our neighborhood which was nice because with the private school I had to drive them across town and the directora was always trying to get me to "be seen" with her since I was American it was good for her business because her school was supposed to be bilingual (but it was not really that bilingual, but who would know that really, but I could tell because I speak English you know?). But you know when you are pregnant and in a strange environment ugh... so fragile. I read to the preschool kids there though... The rest of the years we spent there the kids went to the public and when the school wanted money for things like toilet paper we just told them we were broke. They had to have uniforms. I remember the director of the public school, he spoke a little English, he was going over all the different things with me, and he said, "are you going to make (sew) their uniforms?" as if it were assumed that I would agree... I probably laughed out loud but don’t recall. We had a neighbor make them. That principal left the school a month after we enrolled. The rest of the time there we never had an opportunity to be able to communicate from parent to teacher except with either my son's translation or my choppy attempts. It got better as time went on and the more soap operas that I watched I started to learn Spanish. Once the school gave Exams for a check on progress, my daughter was not as quick to pick up the Spanish language during the initial year as my son was - he is a year older than she is... her progress-exam was into its third day... the teachers called my son in to the room and had him finish it up for her. If that gives you any indication of the level of concern as our USA- NCLB type of laws are... there is basically nothing to compare to. My children were a B average throughout their years in elementary in Mexico. They are now both fully bilingual. Upon our return to the States, we had many cultural hurdles. Of course they still knew how to speak English as I only ever used English, but no one else on a daily basis. I brought with us a collection of about 300 children's books and workbooks from the States with so they had books. They knew how to read. 
       We made it back in the middle of the school year in their “fifth and sixth” grades. I asked the principal of Meridian school here in PA if he could put them into the “fourth and fifth” grades instead. I remember back when I was their age and I what I learned in school at that age and they were not close to what they should know. I was extremely aware of their faulting areas especially in comparison to how I could remember my days in that same Meridian school.... they basically were behind or completely faulting of history, English, reading, spelling.... science and math were even different. The principal said no, that it would damage their confidence, which was sort of dumb. You know when you know what needs to be done but no one will listen to you? That was one of those moments. I had many battles with things and the school. The kids did not receive extra help but it was sort of blamed on me for taking them out of the country and they made a point to make me feel like I should be dedicating the time in teaching them at home because they had their own full classrooms. Of course during those times I have the babies and I was working and the whole mental thing with the immigration battle and FB and oh so many excuses but all of them made it genuinely difficult for me to give my kids any type of additive... especially when I did not really know what or how to do it. 
        That was some of the incentive for going to school for teaching because I am angry about that whole thing... but also because it seems to be the best occupation to influence so that we have less of a mass of people without empathy walking around in the States. Plus it is a good position to change the world... And, I realized that if anyone was going to take what I have to say seriously, I had to step it up a notch and get a degree in something…anyway, so now they are both in the JR high. My daughter cries because she is really smart, but she is in a reading class that is her present reading level, and she said she is the only typical child that the entire class is challenged...  How do I respond to that type of thing? You see... I have a lot of anger at myself, especially in comparison of the “what is and what could be”… Then I find out that there are laws that protect the child from falling behind. Like IEPs and free tutoring that was never discussed past the blame game… I start to get super angry because all of this time I am beating myself up about it. I keep pulling my college teacher aside after class to ask her about something that I am wrestling with or reflecting upon... she is the professor of education for my class that I am learning all of the history and laws regarding education in America... she knows like everything... I am sure she has noticed the tears in my eyes on several occasions during class...Everything that I have learned in the past two years of college has been absorbed through this "how can this apply to immigration" type of filter in my mind... every expression in class has a underlying tone of the needs to create diversity appreciation or directly to my experiences.
       There is nothing in legislation that pertains to children that are in another country like my kids were, like many kids are about to do or the multitudes that are already gone of course because we just deported over a million people, so yea of course this is a totally new playing field. But if you go back in history, every single little step in education ends up effecting how the country is run; it is quite obvious in the connection. I guarantee that there is a way to press for recognition to this amazingly unique and new area. No child left behind is a LAW and these children are American with guaranteed ties to that law. By 2013-14 all students are to be proficient or better in reading and math. When we returned, my son was reading at a 3rd grade level in 6th grade. His teacher called me towards the beginning of our transition. She said, “he knows English right?” I said of course he does, I talk to him every day… She said that when she is talking/lecturing the class/ teaching… she can tell by his eyes that he is just not getting it. She said that she will approach him and say Julian do you understand what I said? And she said he was always so confused. I said well, maybe he is not used to hearing someone else speaking English and maybe there are a lot of words that we do not generally use at home that he has to use a little more concentration on. He got E’s and D’s that first year that we came back… he is now getting A’s and B’s only because of his own determination. Like I said we have not received any special attention or supplements.
Let me stress, that the No Child Left Behind LAW was brought into America by Bush during his first term and does not mention if the parents are of particular “worth” that the child will be considered in their no child left behind… This law pertains to EVERY American child, without exclusion in the discrimination of the parent’s living situation or class status or ability to provide… it is a law that is completely focused on the child’s inclusion.
      My kids have worked so hard for every amount of catching up that they have had to accomplish in both countries.
       I have highest of hopes that we can make some kind of difference. I know that my situation is not experienced in the exact same way as every family that goes off to live. Many of these families now have access to the internet with our FB groups and whatnot, that was not part of the scene before with us, but right now it is so these ladies have an advantage with that resource. Also there are some ladies that are educated before they go so they are aware of their child’s needs, many of them teachers of English in the foreign school systems…
      I would love to initiate a Charter School in DC that is Federal instead of State, which includes the American children living abroad. This guarantees a free and appropriate public education to EVERY American child. It can be funded through a non-profit organization.
In this there lies a law that is not being taken responsibility for…

     Not just a claim to our pain, but an actual law.

      Can there be a scientific approach to this? Yes. In a scientific approach, there can be a control and an experiment. Compare what happens to a child who lives in another country and comes back to a child that is able to go school in his own country….or compare a child that goes through the public education in another country to a child that is with the ability to be supplied with an American education even if living abroad (military-base children). Proof of a law being thrown to the wayside during their deportations and exclusions that what answer is there for this?
      Suddenly I see a loophole for family unity.

And people will probably call me nuts... its okay I'm getting used to it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012



My husband laughs at my “plans, plans, everything is plans”...

He tells me to just live my life – that life is not about a plan.

Maybe that is why I feel so twisted and angry at my lack of control or frustration at the attempt to control everything in a nicely packaged squared off fashion.

That notch in the shelf… the one that bothers me every time I look at it. It is a notch that is there naturally by way of a knot in the wood that broke out leaving a cut out in the straight edge of the board. Naturally there or not I do not appreciate it breaking up the straight-lined edge of the shelf where I stack my cups and plates in my kitchen. It bothers me. It bothers me because if the board was cut to nestle in that corner shelf with that notch “planned” for the wall side instead of the side I had to look at, I would not be bothered by it.

That is a control issue. That is what I am talking about. I do not like to see that things “could be” one way, if only there would have been a plan. So I plan endlessly…

The entire immigration mess is all about absolute loss of control.

Nearly impossible to have a concrete plan… or rather “one” solid plan without thinking through the 99 back-up plans that need to possibly jump in to rescue us all from the one plan that we were following.

It is a hard way to live.

When you wake up each day with somewhat of a direction it clears up energy for just living and enjoying. That is normalcy really. Having something of a handle on what is going on in your circle. Of course total control is impossible. Life makes its own mind up as to what it will do with you.

Presently my emotions are somewhat teetering between appreciation and happiness for the possibilities that could happen to my family and the extreme fear of that opportunity being so close to being swiped away and we get sucked back into the time vortex of immigration separation life.

It is a serious life issue too. It is not about a table cloth sale or we could go even bigger with the sale of a car – heck let’s make it the sale of a house.
This is huge… it involves lives and time.
My life and my time. My family, my children, my husband…
That is more important to me than anything.

We have a lot riding on Ricardo’s interview.

If he gets his visa, we start our life.
If he does not, we continue to die inside while we play this idiots game of who gives a shit about the illegals.

Someone said in a discussion this morning that people need to “own up” for what they have done – that no one held a gun to your head…

We sold our van to pay for his appointment. It was the only option.

We sold it to family so they paid for it before the appointment so that we could have the money for the appointment, but because I am in Mexico now without my husband, they delayed “collection” of my van until he returns.

Over the years that we have had our condo, I have brought many suitcases of things down from the USA. There were some things that are not something that I want to part with, but yet cannot take up to the States at this time, so we took a trip to his mom’s house to store them. This would include 2 oversized suitcases of 3-400 count English children’s books, my grandmother’s Singer sewing machine with multiple attachments, and a few other things. I already have a dozen suitcases going up to Pennsylvania full. Most of our things we are giving away to family and friends and neighbors.

We were gone for 4 days to his mom’s house to take these things there and when we returned, Ricardo was let go from his employment of 4 years. They did so because the boss’s son in law needed work and were too chicken to tell Ricardo to his face, so we got a text message while we were out of state.

He threatened a lawyer and they paid him off $4000 pesos… He could have got much more, (like 15,000) but we needed the money now (for food and bills) not later in the amount of time a true pursuit of the claim would take.

So when he comes back from the appointment we need to have closure on this part of our lives because our life here has caved in financially as our concentration has been put on the future with our visa attempt.

If he is denied, the only way we will keep our home from foreclosure here with him living in it, is if he can find another job, or I pay via bank transfer from the USA, which in itself is heartbreaking to imagine more time without him in our lives…

The kids and I fly back on the 19th, his birthday weekend.
My college classes start 8am on the 20th – full day ending in a 3 hour biology lab afternoon… starting with a speech class – hopefully without a first day in front of the class introduction… really.

That is after the flight lands at midnight and getting home and in bed at lucky 3 am…

With or without my husband by my side….

But that sleepy emotional consequence was a sacrifice for waiting till after his birthday to fly back.

After missing three of my six kids’ birthdays this year alone…

It is SHIT like that that I am so worn from… just years of no plan- just living without any stability, flying all over the place with these kids…

All of our hearts breaking all of the time…
Having to leave some children in the states and having to leave him by himself…
Just all of it.
I don’t want to live without a solid plan anymore.
Life stuck in the immigration web does not offer an opportunity for plans.
Just survival.
He better get his visa.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


     I drove here from Tampa area in my mini-van with 2 small kids and pregnant... it took 3 days to get to the border with 2 hotel stops so we could sleep. It was nice because we cut down into New Orleans which I was there years prior, “for lunch in the French Quarter”, but to see that the devastation from Katrina was still evident in the missing windows and such. I met Ricardo at Matamoros, Mexico, a border city along the Gulf. After 3 days of driving pregnant, my exhausted emotions were out of control and the confusion in the street of the culture slap across my face, with my eyes flipping through the faces and none of them being Ricardo’s, broke me.

     Directly passed the border entry, a middle aged heavy woman went walking by in the heavily populated street with a pole across her shoulders, selling the upside-down whole chickens that were tied to it, and it was strange to me,  dramatic, like time travel. A scruffy man walked up to my van at the stop sign and sprayed water out of a plastic pop bottle to squeegee clean my windshield. My concentration was on Ricardo’s frustrated Spanish on the cell because we could not find each other. I rolled up the window real fast and the man started flipping out, waving his arms around for money, so I shot two quarters out a little crack at the top and sped off…. That is when I made the U-Turn and headed back to the border parking lot in somewhat of a panicked shock.

     I felt pretty good about myself before that. The effort that was put into getting there took a considerable amount of determination, all while raising the children, maintaining my health and job… Our passports were in hand, all expedited, everything I owned was sold off in the front yard, I left my great job on good terms and the kids finished their school-year – all of which I did while missing Ricardo and anticipating what living in Mexico would entail with our nightly phone calls via the press 100 different numbers first calling card. The drive alone to get to the border started with peeling away from my parents that stood in my rented home’s driveway crying that it was the last time they would see us alive… To be so brave as to go driving off to the land of the no return with nothing but an adventuresome soul… yep… I was feeling pretty damn confident at that point.

I guess that I pictured just a continuation of the highway that took us through Texas…

       Mexico is not just separated from the Estados Unidos by a line on a geography map, or a place for exotic beach vacations, or don’t drink the water jokes, or men with huge sombreros sleeping under a cactus with his pet donkey parked close by…

Mexico is a personality.

       I say that with discomfort as not to judge this part of me that is foreign to my childhood, but is my children’s short lived knowledge of the world and life.

       My beloved Mexico with your deep sense of survival and ability to simply look at a person and realize if that person deserves that extra coin, or guiltless denial, according to the standards of simplicity of life. Coming in from the giant presumed money tree USA, I am permanently tattooed as I am not only here by marriage as opposed to blood, which holds weight, but my heritage awards me a status of responsibility to give, whether I have it or not in realistic terms.

       Because I grew up with HBO and Jordache Jeans, rode in cars with boys without a care in the world and finished my free high school education with every hope of making my life as big as I dreamed… because I was ignorant to the fact that my life was economically coveted by most of the world… it suddenly did not matter that we were only able to afford beans for meals… simply because... Who I was and what experience in my life surmounted at the same knowledge level as those who surrounded our town, family, and friends that were of economic upper class – that alone made our financial issues MY problem and so was my responsibility to help others if we wanted to make it work here.

        Sure… I could have secluded our little poor family. I could have smiled nice at the neighbors and kept to myself with polite giggles and waves and shifted around at the local tienda with my broken Spanish. I could have had an island inside my mind with my family living in paradise in the land that I claimed as my own with virtually no problems only because that is how protected we chose to live…

But I did not do that.

        This is how it is – the land of survival… the people here seem to realize your intentions in a way that revolves around their own survival. I cannot fool myself into thinking that I will bring my American heritage here and make dreams for my children to soar above it all. That way of thinking is taught in the dubbed American sitcoms and frankly why so many choose to venture to American soil through days of desert commuting. It is simple really.

         If we are to live in Mexico in our lifetime as a couple, as a family, in any event, will have to involve my American heritage.  It is not because I am spoiled in need for myself, or that I want my children to be spoiled, but it is because I am spoiled within the society that I claim to want to be a part of. It is a responsibility.

        One day when I grow up I want to scrape enough money together to buy a cart to push up and down the street and sell seafood on ice, or fancy bread under a table cloth, or pillows that I sewed together…

What words are there to explain how that is not for me or the children that I will raise?

It is not about self-glory or conceit, imperialism of my country or poking fun at another. It is not for me. It is a responsibility.

Then again, it is on me.

        And THAT is not something that can be passed off with a polite smile. This is who we are in our separate family kingdom’s hierarchy placement and in this country that holds importance. There will be no settling for less than struggling strives “just because” we want to choose to settle for content, relaxing, happiness instead. There will be no American attitude of “money is not important, love is” because that is not the reality here. It is not about love in that sense of individuality as a part of the Mexican society. It is a responsibility that is placed to do more than to simply keep our heads above water… it is to swim hard.

 ... and enjoy while doing so.

Monday, May 21, 2012

tears for separation fears

 A man died this month in the Arizona desert on the way to his American family of five children and wife.
 Her husband will never have words from his mouth - no more laughter, no more memories, no more tasting food, or holding hands.
No more looking up at the sky out a window from his bed in the morning as he rolls over to ponder the day before it happens.
It is over.
His time is completely finished. Only his five children and wife will remember him now. His American family with five American children that depended on his financial contribution and care, his fatherly hand in love and correction, his arms, kisses, and presence will be forever without him.

The failure to initiate comprehensive immigration reform in the United States kills family members.
It kills them physically, as in this extreme story of a father trying to return to his needy children and wife.
It kills family members daily, little by little -
                                                                when there are papers to file
                                                                                                          that can take years to accomplish
                                      and only to hope
                                                              that after all of it
                               the end result
       is an approval.

…and for some families, the only offering is a lifetime ban with no other option.
    There are children without fathers that quietly talk to their sister about how they miss their papa, while the mother over-hears the conversation and dies inside... a four year old boy’s observation of his emotions to his two year old sister of why his father has been only randomly visited since the end of 2010.

Tonight on the phone, my husband cried.
I knew he was crying.
I could hear him.
I tried to be extra happy and we put the speaker phone on and I tried desperately to amuse the two little ones so that they would entertain his happy side to try to snap him out of what was eating him up.
Finally it got to be too much for him.
I could tell there was a difficulty in maintaining his composure, as my macho man.
This is not something that happens to him, ever.
We are all breaking down inside.
He had to hang up, crying…
I said the things we always say every day...  
                                         “Okay, Good-night”
                                            “Good-night...See you tomorrow”            
                                         “See you tomorrow… I love you”
                                             “I love you... Be careful baby.”

Why do so many die in the desert?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

hitting bottom - a stage of the immigration process

Alcoholics loose their driver’s license and sometimes family members…
Addictions to drugs and gambling require tough love and a cold shoulder...
Criminals internally cry for punishment by leaving clues to be relieved of their secret...

I am married to a Mexican guy who I love with all of my heart.

     This year started out with the babies and I in Mexico with my husband for a “visit”- as some have wrongly stated a honeymoon-type of visit, as if some assumed virgin moment of enlightenment takes place. I returned to my home, everything unchanged, unmoved, but relatively clean as my husband takes care of himself and our home when the kids and I are away. We do not pretend that life is perfect when we are together, or do we over-treat ourselves as would be presumed.
     There is only a short period of time that we are able to be family, so we fight, we love, we cook and do laundry, and we find that some of our best conversations are when we are sitting in the bathroom together. We are just like a normal marriage, a normal family. That is until it ends, the flight date approaches, and that is when normalcy goes and pain overwhelms not just us, but our children. We do not discuss this moment until the day it arrives, we do not linger in the sadness, and we just live.

    Then, the big girl pants are put on, so that I can get through life until next time while I am without him.
This is when my husband takes a deep breath and holds it, as he waves goodbye to his life on the other side of the security check, heading back to America – where he is not welcome.

      The past five months my world has been more hellacious than ever. Concentration on living has become difficult. I lost our baby and I lost some of my closest friends. I started to doubt my abilities in my education and found it a real challenge to push myself through my assignments.
    In the past, words of encouragement to women in this similar situation was an opportunity for me to feel as though that all that I had lived and learned had counted for something, that I could help others who were moving abroad as I did previously without being afraid or lonely, or to comfort those who were enduring separation that could be so traumatic…
    Suddenly it was I who turned to the internet crying out for someone to help me as I fell further and deeper into depression. I drove people away with my sudden loss of humor and strength. I was lost and I lost so much because of it.

Hitting bottom… what happens to a person that hits bottom?

There is a feeling that your life is not really yours.
When there is a lack of control over almost every aspect of your life, you begin to search for a way out.

Do I attend an AA meeting, an NA meeting, or do I walk in to the jailhouse and say please, take me, I did it, I am guilty? Do I run from my friends, from my family, from my school, and from society?

Who and what do I look to that will bring solution to this life, this annoying person that my friends hate, that my family does not respect, that my children pity, that my church ignores, and that society cannot stand…
No one wants you when you loose – there surely is a song somewhere for this moment.

And then there is my husband on the other end of the nightly call, where we get to love, respect, and comfort each other because we are both enduring the same hell.

This is the bottom.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


   Dear friend,

      I am in search of a sponsorship for my husband, Ricardo. In order for him to live in the United States with our family, he will need to have a legal visa. The process for this visa requires that a person sign a contract that will sponsor him to come into the United States and live, work, and drive… everything that a United States citizen can do except for vote. This will enable us to be a family united. It is potentially saying that you will vouch for his need to be here.

     We did attempt to live in Mexico together as a family; however, the best we could do was to obtain tourist visas and travel to the border every 180 days to renew the visa. This made our life difficult because we have two kids in school and two babies. Ricardo could not assist me in this travel with the children so I traveled as the only adult. We tried this lifestyle for years. It became harmful to the education of the children, not to mention the cost of flights. We were unable to obtain permanent residency in Mexico due to our family size. Also, I have two teenage children that reside permanently in Pennsylvania that we were separated from while we attempted securing our family in Mexico.

     I am looking for a sponsor so that we can be together. The sponsor must make a certain amount of salary in order to qualify. This is not asking for money from the sponsor, it is to establish that they are able to qualify to vouch for Ricardo to live in the United States. The amount depends on the potential sponsor’s household size. My household size is six people; therefore the amount of yearly salary would be $38,713. That salary should be on the previous year’s income tax. I do not make that amount. I have initiated my education and am presently half way into obtaining my Bachelor’s degree so that I may have opportunity for better employment one day.

      In the meantime, our family is in need of someone to sponsor my husband so that he can help with our family. He is a wonderful parent and husband. He is a hard worker, a faithful Catholic, and he only asks to be with his family.

The following paragraphs are from my lawyer, Laura Fernandez:

    “The main purpose of the financial sponsorship is to prevent new immigrants from becoming a public charge. That means that once Ricardo enters the United States, he cannot accept means-tested public benefits as long as he is a permanent resident or for ten years. If he becomes a U.S. citizen in three years (which is possible as the spouse of a U.S. citizen) the I-864 contract dies entirely, as a USC does not need a financial sponsor. So that is one thing.”

        “In terms of the income, first of all, you are only sponsoring Ricardo, not a family of 3 or 4 or 5. You are not sponsoring Raquel or the kids. You are not signing off that Ricardo will support Raquel or the kids. You are only ensuring that Ricardo himself, only him, will not become a public charge. Even if Ricardo were not making any money, he is ineligible for any of the public benefits that you are sponsoring against getting, by nature of welfare and other entitlement reform. However, the immigration laws have not been updated to reflect these changes."

      If you feel that you can help, I would be forever indebted to you.
This means more to me than words can truly express. Thank you.

Kindest regards,
Raquel Magana

The amount of yearly salary to qualify for sponsorship for your household would be you, your household, plus Ricardo, equaling an amount of total household size.

For one person living single to sponsor Ricardo, the yearly salary should be $18,913.
For a two person household to sponsor Ricardo, the yearly salary should be $23,863.
Three person household plus Ricardo, $28,813.
Four person household plus Ricardo, $33,763.
Five person household plus Ricardo, $38,713.
Six person household plus Ricardo, $43,663.
"I'm American, and so is my little sister... and so is my mom, and my 4 older brothers and sisters. Please help my Mexican father come to the USA to watch me grow"...

Saturday, April 28, 2012


It’s just as it should be.
I am in the United States of America.
      I am a fifth generation German/Irish descendant, at least by the standards of my father’s male bloodline, but what may apply when counting in my mother’s line, and all of the wives and mothers of each generation and where they came from, and for how long they have been in the United States, or from where they came, is only something that can be guessed. As far as I know I am, for the most part German. My maiden name means pastry maker in Germany. My mother’s maiden name is very Irish, as was her mother’s.
    My kids are part of me. Does this mean that they can then claim this same status as their own? Does this qualify them to claim the important sixth generation American of the United States? It may come in handy for them one day, as this subject of immigration when and how and who is now an act of martyrdom of our own importance – the death and suffering of who we are inside for our belief of America.
    Does bloodline matter? The answer is yes. Those who claim that this is theirs, do so because of their bloodline, therefore giving my children the right to claim America through my bloodline, because the blood running through my veins is the same blood of the people that helped to build America. I have some of the same genes.
     I have inherited these genes from my bloodline. That gives me too the rights to inherit this country through my bloodline. To take a spot of that blood and to trace it into Germany would not necessarily offer me a right to Germany though, even though my bloodline and my genes may be found there. I was born on American soil. I have a birth certificate. I have photos of my parents holding me when I was a baby in an American lifestyle. I went to school from Kindergarten to graduation day at the same high school that I watched my daughter graduate from. We sang the American Anthem and through out the years, I said the Pledge of Allegiance every year, clear back to when my hand was a little bigger than the doll’s that I played with, as I held it across my chest, saying words that I did not understand. Over the years I was taught the many patriotic loyalties, the reasons that I was to feel them, along with the blood that spilled as the genes and bloodlines of others ended so that mine could survive.
    The appreciation of others for the survival of my bloodline is what patriotism of living in the United States may be stated as then, put simply.
    It is just as it should be, then that my children and myself are in the United States, living protected, receiving an American education and the installation of the knowledge of patriotism is being given to my children, the sixth generation immigrants from Germany... that appreciation of others so that they simply can live in the United States, as a United States Citizen.
   It is just as it should be that my husband is not here because he is from Mexico. There is no way that he would be able to understand that appreciation of others that gave up their lives so that America could be a place for someone like him to live in the United States.
    How could he ever live in the United States like I do, without knowing his bloodline was formerly already here for five generations previously? How could he ever be confident in claiming that he would have the right to be breathing and eating from this place? How dare he not take his own bloodline into account and stay faithful to his own past, because that is important!
   What is important is where your bloodline is from, that is how it works here. We are petty. We want proof. We want to play house under the big apple tree in the fields of the New Republic and as children that play, we choose the rules that suit to please the moment, to accommodate our pleasures of instant near sightedness and selfish desires. It is our call because it is our story.
    Believe in your dreams because in America, we are destined to become anything that we strive for. We are able to overcome the hazards of life that in the other countries across the world have difficulty with, because we are given an endless supply of opportunity and guidance. ‘While the uncertainty can be stressful, we have endless possibility’…. all because of our bloodline.
   As a single mother of the next generation, the fatherless, the ‘we may have to live in exile’ children of tomorrow that will be with the right to play house too one day, I will teach them what I have been taught from my bloodline... to never give up.
   But I need to teach them to also accept when you are wrong, to admit when you are wrong… so they do not grow up as crooked crooks.
 I was wrong to marry someone that was not a United States Citizen.
   I was wrong to ruin his life, to make him miss us every day bringing him to the edge of depression. To keep his hopes high when the odds are not going in our favor, who exactly is at wrong here? It is I. It is my fault.
   It is my fault for believing that I should follow my dreams and to strive for a destiny that I would be able to overcome simply because of my accustomed American attitude and privilege. 
   It was wrong for me to birth children before stabilizing a citizenship in one of our countries. It was wrong for me to bring babies into this world that have to be without a parent and to suffer the heartaches that a child should never have to endure.
My guilt…
    Fine lines are being drawn in this child’s play about who should be allowed to play tomorrow. Did I dare to take initiative that was not a part of the rules and hope for mercy from my playmates? It depends on who the players are.
    On a given day the American life was of fair rules to those who played by the rules. Now I am marked, because I am married to a Mexican.
I have forfeited my bloodline…
in the name of love.
Default the child's game to that of a woman’s need – to love who she is meant to.
It is in my blood.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Immigration Reform, the Mass Atrocity

       President Obama gave a speech today, April 23, 2012, at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. It reflected on the honoring of “the presence of men and women whose lives are a testament to the endurance and the strength of the human spirit -- the inspiring survivors” of the Holocaust.
     “For the Holocaust may have reached its barbaric climax at Treblinka and Auschwitz and Belzec, but it started in the hearts of ordinary men and women.  And we have seen it again -- madness that can sweep through peoples, sweep through nations, embed itself.”

 He spoke of the incidences of genocide across the world,
     “…they shock our conscience, but they are the awful extreme of a spectrum of ignorance and intolerance that we see every day; the bigotry that says another person is less than my equal, less than human.  These are the seeds of hate that we cannot let take root in our heart.”

       President Obama speaks of unfair killings and death across the world… but his words touch the part of me that has read of families suffering through immigration reform and the lack there of…
       "Never again" is a challenge to societies.  We’re joined today by communities who’ve made it your mission to prevent mass atrocities in our time.  This museum’s Committee of Conscience, NGOs, faith groups, college students, you’ve harnessed the tools of the digital age -- online maps and satellites and a video and social media campaign seen by millions.  You understand that change comes from the bottom up, from the grassroots.  You understand -- to quote the task force convened by this museum -- "preventing genocide is an achievable goal."  It is an achievable goal.  It is one that does not start from the top; it starts from the bottom up.”

       President Obama talks about his newly formed, first-ever White House position that would be dedicated to the task of preventing and responding to mass atrocities with the creation of the new Atrocities Prevention Board…
        “We’re making sure that the United States government has the structures, the mechanisms to better prevent and respond to mass atrocities... The board will convene for the first time today, at the White House.  And I’m pleased that one of its first acts will be to meet with some of your organizations -- citizens and activists who are partners in this work, who have been carrying this torch.”

       Education on qualifications of mass atrocity: http://www.operationbrokensilence.org/?p=6205

        Obama goes on to end his speech with a few words that to me, felt like he could see us sitting in our living rooms, knowing what we are all faced with and it was if he was saying it to us personally “I did not forget you… I am formulating a plan…”
        There is absolutely nothing that can diminish our truths of extreme atrocities watching our childrens' fathers ripped away as we the mothers feel our way through the darkness of legalities, money, forms, while raising our children. Couples to be separated under an iron fist lacking compassion or tolerance. These laws are neither the future, nor the past, but are an unnoticed atrocity of today...

        “Even with all the efforts I’ve described today, even with everything that hopefully we have learned, even with the incredible power of museums like this one, even with everything that we do to try to teach our children about our own responsibilities, we know that our work will never be done. There will be conflicts that are not easily resolved.  There will be senseless deaths that aren’t prevented.  There will be stories of pain and hardship that test our hopes and try our conscience.  And in such moments it can be hard to imagine a more just world.  

        It can be tempting to throw up our hands and resign ourselves to man’s endless capacity for cruelty.  It’s tempting sometimes to believe that there is nothing we can do.  And all of us have those doubts.  All of us have those moments -- perhaps especially those who work most ardently in these fields. 

        So in the end, I come back to something Elie said that day we visited Buchenwald together.  Reflecting on all that he had endured, he said, "We had the right to give up."  "We had the right to give up on humanity, to give up on culture, to give up on education, to give up on the possibility of living one's life with dignity, in a world that has no place for dignity."  They had that right.  Imagine what they went through.  They had the right to give up.  Nobody would begrudge them that.  Who’d question someone giving up in such circumstances?  

        But, Elie said, "We rejected that possibility, and we said, no, we must continue believing in a future."  To stare into the abyss, to face the darkness and insist there is a future -- to not give up, to say yes to life, to believe in the possibility of justice.   

         To Elie and to the survivors who are here today, thank you for not giving up.  You show us the way.  (Applause.)  You show us the way.  If you cannot give up, if you can believe, then we can believe.  If you can continue to strive and speak, then we can speak and strive for a future where there’s a place for dignity for every human being.  That has been the cause of your lives.  It must be the work of our nation and of all nations.”

 ...If we keep on believing in family unity, if we do not give up, we can show them how human we really are.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

No advantages for the wrong way!

 “They should not get an advantage over those who do it the right way…”
Politicians have the power to make the country what it is and we assume that they are intelligent humans that are educated and perhaps have served some type of humanity internships along with many legal degrees. We assume that during these years of potential presidency preparation that somewhere in that journey that they would have gotten their hands dirty, served food to the homeless in some soup kitchen for a day or prepared graph charts for a class on why it is important to be concerned with a particular group’s welfare – the end result being a developed responsibility level for compassion…

Who does it the right way?
A bit hypocritical really-
IS that how you got to run for president?... the commander of all?... because you know what is best?...

The right way is to not separate families that were initiated because two people met while living daily under the protection of our government in our land.

What escapes the mouth and thoughts are the fact that now there are security and crazy nuts walking up and down the border actually looking for something to shoot at.

If giving those who have made it in “the wrong way” an advantage so to speak, gives the impression that this wrong way might be easier and may cause others to follow and not do it “the right way” that is really not looking at the fact that who in the hell would want to sneak in here now anyway?

In the long run the wrong and right ways are in the past tense, because there is actually a “no” way to do it now. Families are destroyed and no one seems to care…

Right, Mitt?
Be real.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Split Self

Life in two worlds
           Daily moods can interpret the dual life into two extremes. You may find me telling myself how lucky I am, how exotic and different and cultural, and what an opportunity of adventure that has escaped the boredom of monotony. The other hand holds the darkness of the insecurities, the failures that lie within the instability, the loss of control in decision of my own… Regardless, I am Sybil, the multi-personality deemed multi-cultured woman that happened this way from abuse of my freedoms, in spite of my freedoms, to split my entire life into two separate facets, in order to preserve thy self.
            Explaining my life is the difficulty, unless the specific questions are asked. For example, when I am in American I eat American food and when I am in Mexico, almost everything is accompanied with a warm tortilla and salsa. In it this subject can be detailed to the exacts of how the food is gathered, cooked and served or enjoyed – how much time it takes to prepare and what time of the day do meals take place. There are remarkably many differences in all aspects of food and how it is consumed between the two countries, but they both provide the same basic results of sustaining life. You eat and then digest.
             How I feel when I am in the States presently cannot be compared with my life when I was the cultural virgin, for that cherry is gone, along with the entire orchard. Life in the States has now been somewhat reduced, vacuum packed and freezer dried to be given longevity for future use. On the future visa-awarded holiday planned, that life will be thawed, heated, and prepared appropriately, releasing its aroma just as fresh as the day that it was stored… in theory. For now I sit on the internet with internet nets, pretending that I am living in this suspended state of self preservation.
              A bird in a cage at the window, watching life happen without me, afraid to go outside because I am in the town of los gatos and they are ready. Would Picasso find the ability to capture this hell? Who lives like this? Surely I know no one but us, and yet we are expected to carry on our normative societal standards of the community without interruption or alarm, because it hurts their ears to hear it… our fears. Few can understand what it is like to be stalked like prey, to have to run and hide and occasionally stand and fight... while raising children. As imagination can muster, the bravest warrior too becomes tired eventually from the constant flow of adrenalin and one day will expect an end to the battle. That end for me is resolution with immigration and is what webs the entirety of all the time warps into one drink of mixed poisons. When Ricardo is able to live in the USA, we can move away from my stalker ex husband, how much more clearly can that be stated.
               When I am in the States I dream fondly of Mexico… wanting to smell the sweet smells and the cry of sales and blows and whistles outside. I wish to hear the music and the people talking that I barely understand and find it easy to not try to. I find my mind living in Mexico in certain memories often, while in waiting deployment from the States. Maybe it was a drive up the mountain on our way to the park and I can replay it over and over in my head watching my husband’s confident smile from the passenger seat as he drives the children and I on our way to one of the greatest family adventures for the day, the kids laughing in the back of the van, the music on the radio, the windows down and the culture blowing in from the streets… I relive scenes of our life, of our time together, over and over and sometimes I feel as though I am actually there and not here. My mind can dwell for days in my home in Mexico, organizing my home décor, washing my clothes and folding Ricardo’s shirts and pants. I remember the broom, the mop, and the sink, and the smell of the soap and chloro in the buckets as I remove the polvo from our home, while preparing the meal that we will share that evening. Ricardo goes to work early and I kiss him with an I love you as I lock the door behind him and open that door when he knocks in the early afternoon. He bursts in like sunshine with a huge smile and arms out for the kids to jump in, every day. He hands me something, if it be roses or sunflowers, or a bag of sugar-cane, or warm tortillas… I am there with him in my mind, living in those memories. Every day that I am in the USA, I am in Mexico with my husband in my surroundings of my decorated home, living as it should be as a couple in love, equipped with the Snow-White song, and blue birds flying and squirrels jumping to partake in the fantasy.
          The door to the bird cage is left open next to the window, and instead of being devoured by the cats; I book a flight to Mexico. Naturally my whole self is engulfed with hormones of excitement to be soon reunited with him, my love, my prince of charmings, my husband and mate for the remaining days of our lives… the right arm returned, the parent to share in the accomplished growth in the shared perception of pride of the children. Off to Mexico we go as we pack our suitcases full of hopes of the best memory investments yet to come and all of the sudden I feel right again. The flow of blood returns to the corpse and would be the best time to ask me if I will organize your garage, basement and attic in just a couple days time as if I could harness the energy I could give electricity to a city. I am living again! I will soon be retuned to beautiful and undress from the costume that I wear while in the USA posing as the tired beat down woman in the robe with sunken eyes and greying hair in a bun – and metamorphism replaces her with the real me, the energetic, sexy, life loving me, the me that is supposed to be.
           AND then I have to say good-bye to my kids when I straddle the border and guilt finds itself another wrinkle to reside in. Although the anticipation does not fade, the responsibility and pressures grow, not overshadowing my need to be with my husband, but flexing my maternal instincts to repair the split life, condition and trim the ends – strive for a visa and hope for a home and a new beginning with a strong direction into contentment… in other words, to be normal.
           Mexico life is something that I have mastered, assimilated, culturally adjusted to... I cross the border and I exhale. Expectations have become normative standards; it becomes life and not a concept or postcard… with appreciation for more than the image. Never assuming that I am a Mexican, but holding my own self and where I come from with pride, I am the American in a strange land, with rosy colored shades. That comfort did not come without scars, without bumps and bruises, without a question to my ability to accept diversity in human existence. Left in the past like the innocence of youth are the emotional closures of loosing my own perfected customs of lifestyle. I am no longer a star status American in our town, but just another face that people recognize and are able to greet with questions about my personal life updates, and not to bother charging me more than they should at the stores and street vendors.
            Every minute is magnified in its appreciation when you know that there is not much time, and that is how we live now when we are in Mexico as opposed to before when it was assimilation. We are timed like mice in a maze, an experiment by the mad, to how well our hearts can uphold our sanity and our endurance for our marriage and parenthood. It is a sick experiment that surely the results go unrecognized. Conditioner is applied and the split becomes bearable… Ricardo grabs up my hand while we are walking down the sidewalk and in comparison, my own strong hand is dominated by yet a stronger hand, that of my husband…
            I love my days, my minutes, and my moments when I am with him in his country. I am beautiful in the mirror and in my being. Smiles and laughter and excitement rein the children and the television is suddenly not a staple in the day. We pile into the minivan and go – wherever, it never matters, because we are together, laughing and feeling life in our bodies. There is happiness in our marital bliss and our romantic passionate quarrels, we talk without talking, and we feel without touching, we know that we are a combined pair at those moments… not the solo sock that looks great but is useless without the other.
          Of course though, without a doubt, my children who are waiting in America for our return are in my mind all day, bumping off of my other thoughts that are circling around in my head, causing contradiction with the happiness because we are so far apart. Never has there been an ease in that, never a day that goes by without it, always the broken chain that could be really awesome if repaired.
          And then we have to say good-bye to Mexico and go back to the USA. Our residential timeline is a rollercoaster… we are living the life of split cultures, two residences, two homes, two places that are completely different in nature and attributes that are within the same life – Sybil, the dual-multi-split and then only to repress what is normal.

Thank you government bodies for the opportunity to be a phenomenon, it’s hot.