A recently published article from The Huffington Post provides an autobiographical glimpse into the life of a woman who fell in love with an undocumented immigrant and the fear she says they live in on a daily basis.
Sarah and Javier – pseudonyms granted by The Huffington Post to preserve the author’s anonymity – met at a bar roughly three years ago. Javier had arrived in the United States from Mexico six months prior and worked at a nearby Mexican restaurant. His status as an undocumented immigrant, however, wasn’t apparent until he was pulled over for a broken taillight while taking the author on their first date.
Luckily, the officer let them off with a warning when it was possible that Javier could have been arrested and likely sent to a detention center to await deportation. While the broke taillight incident was the closest brush with danger the author cites, she says her three-year relationship with Javier – which encompasses the birth of their child – is underscored by the fear that he could be arrested at the slightest misstep.
The author says she and Javier has consulted with an immigration lawyer and learned that because he is an undocumented immigrant, Javier must first leave the U.S. and return to Mexico. He can then apply for a green card or visa to reenter the U.S. with documentation.
If Javier were to try to become a lawful permanent resident this way, the author could sponsor a family-based visa like a K-1 for fiancés to legally enter the U.S. so they can marry, or an F-2 visa if they were to marry in Mexico. However, meeting any of these visa’s requirements to verify their relationship could reveal Javier’s past as an undocumented immigrant, and avoiding that scenario could mean lying to an immigration official or providing false information on government forms – any of which could permanently bar Javier from entry into the U.S., or worse.
The matter of Javier’s status as an undocumented immigrant matters even if he leaves the U.S. to try to legally enter because the government can (and does) ban people from entry into the U.S. for 10 years if it’s discovered that they ever lived here without documentation.
The silver lining for the author and Javier, perhaps, lays in the fact that their daughter is a U.S. citizen regardless of her father’s immigration status and won’t have to undergo the same legal challenges he’s facing. She attained U.S. citizenship the moment she was born on U.S. soil – and even if she hadn’t, she could be eligible to receive U.S. citizenship due to her mother’s status. It’s only a small comfort, however, because that little girl may grow up amid the anxiety her parents live with or may one day lose her father to deportation.
So, what should you do if you fall in love with an undocumented immigrant? Call an immigration lawyer, like ours at the Law Offices of James A. Welcome. That may not be the most satisfying answer, but only an experienced immigration attorney is qualified to help you through your unique situation. We can work with you to assess your where you and your loved one are at, and what options are available to you that can remove the fear of living together in the U.S.
Contact the Law Offices of James A. Welcome online or call (203) 806-7922 for immigration law matters like this and more. When you need help, we’ll be there.