Dear Friends and Family:
As you may or may not know my family is having some difficulties. Eric, my son and his wife Yolanda attempted to do the right thing in obtaining permanent residence status for Yolanda. They went to the American Embassy in Juarez, Mexico on September 10, 2008, where their request was denied and Yolanda was ordered not to re-enter the United States. Since then, Eric and his family have had to live separately, Eric and their son, James (6), living in their home in Lawndale, CA so that James can continue to attend school, while Yolanda and their daughter, Analy (3) live in an apartment in Mexico about 30 miles south of the border (approximately a 3 hour drive (one way) for Eric on a good day). This separation could last for 12-18 months.
I and some other family members immediately wrote to our Senate and Congress representatives. This didn’t really accomplish much as not all are representatives even got back to us and those that did basically said they couldn’t do anything that Eric had to contact his own representatives. Unfortunately, this process took some time and the only thing it really showed me was that I have a very small voice in this government of ours.
The more I learn, the worse it gets. I like most of you would just a soon every illegal in this country was rounded up and shipped back to where they belong. Actually that's not my true feelings because I know that would be an impossible task, plus some of these people are truly outstanding assets to their communities. What I would like to see is some sort of amnesty for the ones that have been living a good clean life, paying taxes and not committing crimes. But we really can't even do that, not until we can secure our borders so that no other illegal can get into this country. What I'm learning now and I also believe Eric is learning now although he may have known this but didn't think it was such a big deal, is that Yolanda was here illegally some time within the time she's been here. It seems that she came here legally on a student visa but let it laps in between the time she was here legally on a work visa. That laps time is the problem, she was here illegally. I doubt Eric knew all the ramifications of that when he feel in love and married Yolanda, I sure didn't. I just learned today that if someone is here illegally and is caught or admits to being here illegally, they have to leave the country and are not allowed to even try to obtain a visa for ten years. Now to me, that seems like a good law, I agree with it. My objection is when a situation like Eric's happens, he a US citizen marries an illegal (knowingly or unknowingly), and there should be exceptions. And I guess there is, they are called waivers. The problem with the waivers, they take 12-18 months or more to be approved. I guess we should all know this, I guess he should have really known this; ignorance to the law is not bliss. He and his family, I and my family are definitely not blissful. Long story short, in order to have these waivers approved in an expedited manner you have to prove an extreme hardship. The American Embassy and US Government definition of extreme is that the US citizen has to be bedridden, show a health problem where the illegal spouse was taking care of the family as well as the US citizen and that without that spouse, the US citizen would then have an extreme hardship (this I obtained by talking directly with the office of my Congressman). All the rest is just a hardship, loss of the illegal spouse’s income to the family, family separation, child care, loss of monies having to support the illegal spouse in a foreign country, loss of savings for the children's education fund, loss of the US citizens 401K, possible loss of their family home, possible loss of job because Eric arrives late to work and leaves early to get his son to school, not to mention all the other added expense and inconvenience in the US citizen and his family visiting the illegal spouse on weekends and whenever they can. These are just minor hardships and won't qualify the family for a speedy approval of a waiver; the approval will probably take 12 to 18 months. So I don't hold much hope in Eric and his family getting back together before these 12-18 months are over. To me it's just ludicrous. I know a wrong was done, I know a law was broken, I know penalties should be levied, I just feel this penalty of separating a family for such an extended period of time is unjust and to extreme for a US citizen and the family to have to bear. These are just my thoughts.
We do have a petition & declaration form that Eric’s lawyer has asked him to get to all his friends, supporters and family for signature, it could help. I'm assuming that the more signatures he gets and the more declarations, it might just move him up the line and they may not have to wait the 12-18 months.
This is where I’m asking for your support. I know you all have busy lives and your opinions on this subject may differ. If you would, I’d like you to print out the attached forms. On the petition form, print your name, address, whether you’re a US citizen or permanent resident and sign above your name. I know these lines are small but please try to stay within the lines. Also, anyone can sign the petition; they don’t have to know Eric or Yolanda. They just have to want to support the petition. So please have all your family members, friends, neighbors or people from groups you may belong to sign the petition. Now you don’t have to go to all this extra work, I’ll be happy with just your signature.
You have to know Eric to write or type the DECLARATION OF YOLANDA CAMACHO-RODRIQUEZ. The attached is just a sample and Camacho is misspelled with an extra “a”. The first few sentences have to be part of the declaration, ending with I have know Eric since. The rest is in your own words. Now many of you have not seen or talked to Eric in many years but you know him and if you know him you can submit the declaration. If you feel you can write this declaration, it would be much appreciated.
Please mail the petition and any declarations to Eric by November 16, 2008 as he will need them for the interview on December 3 at the American Embassy in Juarez. Eric’s address:
4208 W. 171st Street
Lawndale, CA 90260
Thanks for taking the time to read this; I hope you will help us.
To download and Sign the Petition and Declaration Click here and then forward to Eric at the address above. Good Luck to Eric and Yolanda!