Scars That Never Heal
Yolanda — I was deported in 2010 on New Year’s Eve. My then-fiance and I had dropped off his aunt in Tecate, Mexico and were driving back across the border when we got detained. He was an American citizen but had forgotten his wallet at home. We were sent to a secondary inspection station and that is when I was told that my tourist visa had expired and that I would not be allowed to return home.
I had lived in the United States for 17 years. I had worked as a manager in the fast food industry. I had a good job, a good income. We were living a good life. I am not sure if I hugged or kissed my daughter goodbye that day. I haven’t seen her now for more than 5 years.
It’s a tragedy that is destroying lives. It haunts me that I may never see my family again; that there may never be a remedy; that if I tried to return, I could lose my life [during the crossing] or end up in jail. No one ever thought this would happen, even in my worst nightmares. When I realize that I may never hug my daughter again, it leaves me in an uncontrollable state of mind. I try to remain serene. I ask God to help me.
It’s unjust. I worked hard and was never arrested. Yet, they’ve treated me like I committed the worst of crimes. [The punishment] is excessive. Besides separating families [U.S. immigration policy] is creating scars that never heal.