This I Believe

Charnette - Irvington, New Jersey
Entered on February 16, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: immigrant

I believe in equal right and respect for all people whether legal or not in the United States. I was fortunate to have legal status from the time I stepped foot in this country, but for my husband this was another case. Because of that, our paths were different. I went to school, with a Biology and Chemistry degree, I became a scientist at one of the top fortune 500 company, while he went to various vocational schools and acquired many certificates and became “Jack of all trades, master of none”. I loved my husband for the courage that he had to endure all kind of hardships that associated with not having legal status in the US. After our wedding, we acquired 3 businesses, where he worked hard and managed everything. When I was 30 weeks pregnant with our son and on December 15, we went to immigration to acquire information about his legal status. The people in Immigration and Naturalization Service arrested him and put him in a detection center. At that time, I was pregnant, worked full time and I never really took care of the daily activities of the businesses. That was the moment I realized how insane that life in America could be. The hardships, the anguish and the afflictions came through our life as a disease. During that time, every night, I cried myself to sleep. I thought that I was smart, resilient, but the people in the government looked at me and my family as a plague and perhaps for them, we should not exist without any right or respect. Through this adversity, we, as a family found our true voice. Our eyes were opened and saw the sorrow, the grief, the adversity that illegal immigrants are suffering right now, right here in the US. Again I believe, respect, that was one thing among many others that no one in the government gave my family. Before this predicament, I thought that I was educated and able to carry a conversation with everyone and about anything, but at that time, only a lawyer could acquire information about my husband, my life, my family. No one told me what will happen to my husband, to me, or our unborn son. For once in my entire life, I was scared; the future was dark and painful. Christmas time became a figment of my imagination. The world became a different place. I felt everyone’s pain. At the detection center, each one of us had a different story, but we all agreed that “we, legal or not had no right or respect in this country”