From Arizona: Liz Canales’ story « Reform Immigration For America
My dad, a permanent U.S. resident at that time, and brother went back to El Salvador to visit their parents, who were ill. They had a great time. They were scheduled to come home at midnight on the eve of April Fool’s day. I didn’t go to the airport because I had school the next day. As I was getting ready the next morning, I ran to my parent’s bedroom to welcome my dad. Unfortunately, I found my mom in the bed crying, she looked at me and said, “He’s not coming home”. I was confused and thought that maybe it was a cruel April Fool’s joke but I was brought down to reality as she explained to me that my dad was taken to an immigration detention center pending deportation. You see, my dad had been accused of committing a crime in 1987. He was convicted and served his time of less than a year plus community service. He thought he had nothing to worry about when he went to El Salvador. He had his documentation and everything was going to be okay. But what he didn’t know was that under a new 1996 immigration law passed in Congress, an immigrant could be deported regardless of when the crime was committed, what type of crime was committed, and if time was served. In the wee hours of the morning my dad was handcuffed in front of my brother and taken away by agents leaving my brother alone, crying, and confused.
After 9 months, by the grace of God, our lawyer was able to get the original charges dropped, which was the only way that my dad could stay in the U.S. He came home to us two days before Christmas that year.