It always surprises how unaware people are about how harsh U.S. policies are towards those that have lived in the U.S. without documents. Many do not understand that if you lived one day over 365 days as an adult (18+ years of age), you have an automatic 10-year ban (time I am inadmissible) to reenter the U.S.
Penalties like that don’t even consider that I was taken to the U.S. as a nine year old, it took me a long time to understand the consequences of a choice I did not make, and I was expected at 18 years of age to know what the Immigration and Nationality Act, Act 212(a)(9) was?
(II) [Alien who] has been unlawfully present in the United States for one year or more, and who again seeks admission within 10 years of the date of such alien’s departure or removal from the United States is inadmissible.
I mean as I was honors student, but only immigration attorneys are trained to do that. So of course, when I reached the age when the penalty gains relevance, returning to Mexico was not an option as my life was already in the U.S. and my focused on figuring out how to fix my legal situation. There was no door for me to get in line to “become legal”. Only if you understand U.S. immigration law you realize that, I took me a while to get it. Certainly, the various attorneys I consulted confirmed I had no options, my only recourse would be to wait for immigration reform. Something similar to the Dream Act would have helped me. But no, ICE agents arrived before any type of immigration reform and now I find myself back in Mexico, with no “legal way” to return to the U.S., not even with a tourist visa. I gotta wait for the 10-year ban to be over.
So, like a prison sentence, I wait. Everyday, I take a look at that clock you see on the right side of this blog. Earlier this year, with my friend Azul – who is also a deportee and coincidentally our return to Mexico is only four days apart – we decided to start a daily Tweet countdown to support each other as wait (sometimes impatiently) for THE zero moment, sharing a bit about what is happening in our lives as we tweet away our ban. Feel free to follow our countdown conversation, @mundocitizen, @HappyCosmopolite or with the hashtag #postdeportation (we use it we space allows, sometimes we have too much to say).