By Rodrigo Marina
“What should we do?”
That’s the question I was faced with after hearing about a situation that had a simple solution, but that solution was definitely not the best solution, or the most ideal. I was asked for advice on a very delicate situation. I was told a story about a young lady by the name of Joanna Rosales. Rosales is a twenty-year-old young lady living in Laredo, Texas. Rosales was born in Mexico and moved to the United States when she was an infant. She has not been back to Mexico since her arrival in Texas. She doesn’t have family in Mexico, and while I’m sure she can be traced to obscure relatives in Mexico, she doesn’t personally know anyone in the country.
Certainly, this is a story everyone has heard: Mexican immigrant moves to United States in search of a better life. The story of Rosales is different. Rosales not only doesn’t know any of her family, she also does not have any immediate family. Both of her parents have passed away in the past couple of years. Here’s where the situation gets very delicate: Rosales is not a legal resident of the United States.
Her family moved into the country illegally, and because of that, Rosales has grown up in this country. She’s been in the United States for the last nineteen years because of her parents’ brave decision to pursue a better life. However, as courageous as that choice was, that doesn’t make it legal. At the moment, Rosales is living with a friend, so she has a place to stay for now, but she is constantly moving from home to home, or wherever she can find shelter.
For the last year or so, the country has been in a divide, but this tends to happen every four years, during presidential election season. Hillary Clinton is facing Donald Trump in a political battle for the Presidency. I did not want to relate this story back to the political scene, but it has plenty to do with Rosales’ story.
Both political parties offer solutions to current problems or affairs going on in the country. They offer change, and promise to deliver the solutions they offered in their campaign once elected. This election, one of the biggest topics or issues for both campaigns and the country as a whole, is the policy on immigration.
Both candidates promise a solution, and whatever political party one declares loyalty to, one solution wins, and one solution loses. Which solution is the best depends on the point of view of the audience and the alliance to the said political party, but it’s clearly not the best solution for everyone. Hillary Clinton is promising to “Introduce comprehensive immigration reform.”
She declares to “introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship within her first 100 days in office…” On the other hand, Donald Trump is promising to “Enforce the immigration laws of the United States and restore the Constitutional rule of law upon which America’s prosperity and security depend,” among many other things. One of these policies will take effect and the other one will be passed as only an idea.
However, the reality is that the country needs to prepare itself for either of these policies. In the case of Rosales, one policy is promising her citizenship, while the other one is mostly promising her deportation. She is living with a great fear of what could happen to her. If Trump wins, and she gets deported, the United States will do what the law says and send her back to her home nation, but, Rosales doesn’t have a home in Mexico. And as of now, she doesn’t have s home here either.
“What should we do?” is the question I was asked for my opinion on what options we had to help Rosales. Truthfully, there aren’t many options. The government states that under Cancellation of Removal, one can stay in the country under several conditions. “You have already been physically present in the United States for at least ten years”, and have “been a person of good moral character during those ten years.” While Rosales definitely fits into these situations, she needs a lawyer in order to process this. Something she can’t get due the lack of money, due to a lack of job because she doesn’t have the papers to get one. Every possible option suggested requires money to cover legal expenses. The only possible solution we came across is searching for help from the Mexican Consulate. When we contacted the consulate, we were told about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The DACA is a program created by the Obama Administration in 2012 and has helped “more than 580,000 unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors have received temporary relief from deportation and been given work permits that last for at least two years.”
This could help Rosales not only gain citizenship, but stay in the place she has called home her entire life. While DACA has brought many controversial topics to the government, there is help available! There are options out there to help immigrants like Rosales.