Changes for a Family

My Journey as an Immigrant- Part Three of Three

The writer with her mom, Ana, taken Thanksgiving Day in Tijuana, Mexico while visiting family.

Courtesy of Alondra Castro

The writer with her mom, Ana, taken Thanksgiving Day in Tijuana, Mexico while visiting family.

By Alondra Castro, Godinez Fundamental High School

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I continued to pray and listen as the interviewer asked my mom: questions about our journey to America, our lives before we started that journey, and about our current lives in the U.S.

These questions determine whether you are the perfect candidate for legal status and if you are a contributing member to society.

My family is stable, we make good money, we do well in school, we are even members of the church.

After hearing other interviews, we realized that our case was not as bad as those around us. We were sure we would get approved for Permanent Resident status.

And the interview seemed to be going well.

My mom is a good person, the only law she had broken was entering the U.S. After hearing our story and the adversity we had faced, I felt as if the interviewer had sympathy for us.

The questions asked revealed that before we left for the U.S., my family was in extreme poverty and if we did not leave we would have faced an extremely difficult existence with little opportunity for change or advancement.

Finally after careful consideration, the interviewer granted my brother and I our Permanent Residency, but declined my mom’s application.

This meant going back home and leaving my mom behind in a country none of us called home.

She was left alone in Tijuana, Mexico, without her family.

I was going home to the U.S., legally this time, but miserable.”

— Alondra Castro

What I have been longing for my entire life had finally been granted. I was going home to the U.S., legally this time, but miserable.

And it was at the unfortunate expense of losing my mother. This entire process was expensive taking away our time and money, yet, the cost of losing my mother was the most painful.

The immigration office said the reason her visa was declined was because she allowed her children to break the law and cross the border illegally.

There were times when she worked 18 hour days. All for the well being of her children and her family. For almost 20 years she put everyone ahead of herself and she deserved better.

It was not fair.

It was not fair that by completing a mother’s duty of ensuring a good life full of infinite opportunities for her children, she was punished.

I just wished the system would sympathize and acknowledge my mother, as not some sort of criminal, but as my nobel hero. They do not realize that American society needs more risk takers like my mother; it is only from taking risks that true change happens.

My dad, my brother and I returned home, without my mother. We arrived at a house full of our belongings, yet it felt so empty.

I lie awake at night thinking about my mom. Whenever I shut my eyes I see her face, she is all I think about. It hurts waking up in the middle of the night and realizing that my mom is not in the next room.

My mother’s embrace is either many months or many miles away while all of my friends have moms who  are waiting for them when they get home from school.

So now, almost 8 months after the interview, my mom is in Tijuana, Mexico, where she lives with my grandmother on my dad’s side. She enrolled in school and is continuing to receive a higher education.

I realize she is not under the worst of circumstances but regardless, it is unfortunate that she is separated from her family. Due to an unfair judgement by the immigration office, my mom was sent to live with the side of the family that she is not quite familiar with.

And due to the lack of funds, the amount of time I get to spend with my mom is limited to one weekend every couple of months of us piling into the car and making the three hour trek to get the love and hugs that we crave.

We are still unaware of when my mom will be allowed back home but we do know it is going to be a long time. My mom is going to miss important milestones this year like my prom and high school graduation. After all the work she did to make sure I received an education, she will not be here to see the outcome.

Throughout all of this, I cannot help but think, these hardships could have been avoided if only we would have crossed a welcoming bridge and not an inadmissible border.

Part three concludes the series of Ms. Castro’s immigration story.

This story was originally published on Grizzly Gazette on December 6, 2018.