My dear wife and I went to court for our very last removal hearing. This one was gonna be the one BIG one. Left with no other choice, we’d planned to throw our hands up in surrender and request for voluntary departure. If granted, we’d then be given just 90-120 days to pack all our things and beat it.
5 minutes after walking into immigration court, our judge administratively closed our case and sent us on our merry way. Here is how it happened:
About 4 weeks prior, I came home to find my wife in our empty apartment looking like she’d been hit by a ton of bricks. Speechless, she pointed her finger to a white and blue looking object lying beside her. It was a pregnancy test. On it were the words “pregnant.”
After reeling from the realization that, unbeknownst to us, we had made a child, I emailed our immigration lawyer, and broke the news to him. I asked him if there was a chance that the Immigration and Customs Enforcers (ICE) would administratively close our case on account of my wife being with child.
Our tell-it-like-it-is lawyer emailed us back the same day and told us that there was a slight chance the government would consider administratively closing our deportation case. Since our final court date was coming up really soon, he urged us to move rapidly and collect statements of ‘good moral character’ from friends, family and pastors. He also asked for college transcripts, a document with proof that my wife was pregnant, copies of our passports, among other things.
After we gathered all the documents, our lawyer used them to create what he called a “brief.” This brief is very different from the one men wear as an undergarment. It’s actually a file filled with the documents we’d submitted, as well as a written argument by our lawyer persuading ICE to administratively close our case.
On the day of our last court hearing, my wife and I walked into court solemnly, but with our heads held high. Our lawyer, who’d probably camped outside courthouse the night before, met us and whispered in my ear, “We got it!”
It’s crazy to think that even before the judge walked into court, we’d gotten the inside scoop of how our case would go. Our case would be closed and the judge, who was walking into court, didn’t even know that he’d close our case. The battle had been won even before it began.
My wife and I walked out of the immigration courthouse that day relieved and overwhelmed with emotion. For the past year, we’d been on a journey filled with fear, desperation and loss. This deportation journey had finally come to a sweet end. We knew that our future would still have its challenges, but thankfully, we’d face those challenges on American soil.
I think back to that court-day and I can’t help but realize that though our story had a happy ending, many of the people I saw in the immigration court room were probably ordered deported and, consequently, torn apart from their children, families and community. It’s for them that my heart aches and bleeds. It’s for them that I still fight for immigration reform, and I’m more than persuaded that it’s gonna happen!