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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2006
    Santa Clarita Ca

    [Sob] Temporary reunion tortures Milan family separated

    Posted Online: Posted online: March 25, 2007 8:01 PM
    Print publication date: 03/26/2007
    Temporary reunion tortures Milan family separated by immigration rules
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    By Dawn Neuses,

    More photos from this shoot
    Photo: Dan Videtich
    Jason Canfield and his daughter, Ashlynn, snuggle on the couch of the Milan home the day before going to see her mother, Juana, in Mexico. Juana came to the U.S. illegally eight years ago. She is separated from her family as she now goes through the process to become a legal resident.

    This the area of Ensenada, Mexico, where Juana Canfield lives while awaiting word that she's been granted legal residency status and be allowed to return to Milan to live with her husband and 3-year- old daughter. Juana lives with her father in a two-room house with no indoor plumbing.

    Juana Canfield and her husband, Jason, hold their 3-year-old daughter, Ashlynn, while on a whale- watching tour in Ensenada, Mexico. Jason and Ashlynn recently went to visit Juana in Mexico where she is awaiting word that she can return to the U.S. as a legal resident.

    He was told not to leave the hotel, day or night, or risk being killed.

    Soldiers roamed the streets with machine guns, Jason Canfield says, and gunfire was a constant sound.

    This was Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the place where he, his wife Juana and their 3-year-old daughter, Ashlynn, had to go for Juana's processing to continue. This is the place where they would say goodbye. This is the place they would leave Juana behind.

    Juana, an illegal immigrant to the United States, is working with U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services and the U.S. Consulate to gain permanent residency status so she can return home to her American husband and child in Milan.

    Because Juana illegally entered in the states, federal law says she had to go back to Mexico to get her green card and is barred from coming back for 10 years. However, because she has a husband and child waiting for her in Milan, she filed a waiver that could allow her to come home in as little as six months.

    But they don't know. They have never been given a firm date as to when she can return, or if she will ever be given permanent residency status.

    "You want to go to Mexico?" Jason asks his daughter at their home.

    Ashlynn shakes her head.

    "You don't want to go to Mexico?" he asks.

    "No," she says, then turns and skips away.

    She doesn't want to go to the place where she and Daddy had to turn away and leave Mommy crying in the hotel room as they left in a taxi cab almost three months ago.

    On the eve of their second trip to Mexico -- this time to Ensenada where Juana is living with relatives -- Ashlynn doesn't want to talk about her mommy.

    However, when Jason pulls down a milk crate full of pictures and photo albums, she greedily opens the pages and finds Mommy posing by the Christmas tree, Mommy and her and Dad at the Christmas tree farm, Mommy holding her as a baby.

    Ashlynn quickly bends over and kisses each picture.

    Jason is torn.

    "Knowing I am going down there to see my wife is the greatest thing in the world. Knowing I am going down there to leave my wife is the worse thing in the world, and then to know I have to take her baby away from her."

    On their minds

    The nine-day trip to Ensenada began March 3 with a flight to San Diego, a trolley ride to the Mexican border, a walk to cross into Tijuana and an hour and a half bus ride to Ensenada.

    When they saw each other, Juana grabbed Ashlynn off the sidewalk, scooping her into her arms. "She couldn't talk," he says about his wife. "It literally took 15 to 20 minutes before she could breathe."

    But the excitement of being together as a family was tempered by the thought on both their minds. She told him it was hard enjoying their visit knowing they would leave.

    For a while they pretended they were tourists, shopping through the street vendors, going out to eat every night and on a four hour whale watching tour.

    They also went to her father's home, a blue two-room house with no indoor plumbing where Juana lives today.

    Jason says they were in an area Americans rarely see. Garbage lined the streets. A dirty sink outside was used to wash clothes and clean dishes. A coyote freely roamed the neighborhood in daylight.

    But once she was with her mom, Ashlynn didn't want to come back. The thought of the upcoming separation made Jason and Juana physically ill the last day of the visit.

    "I don't think about the beaches, the restaurants or the hotels, I think about that Sunday when I have to say goodbye. I can't begin to explain the emotion in all of this," Jason says.

    When they left the hotel, Juana went with on the taxi ride to the bus depot. But when they got into the taxi, Jason turned to her and gave her a kiss. He simply told her he loved her, and that was all he would say. "I told her that once we got there, I cannot say goodbye to you. She says she couldn't either. Our last words were spoken 15 to 20 minutes before we even left."

    Juana followed Jason and Ashlynn onto the bus, waiting with them for the 10 minutes before it left.

    As soon as she walked off, the driver closed the doors and the bus moved; and Ashlynn became hysterical.

    Playing the lottery

    Jason is saving money to go back to Mexico in July or August. "But it is hard to think about that, too. Ultimately, you begin thinking about that day when you have to leave again and all we can do is hope we get that letter between now and then that says she can come home," he said.

    They have no idea where they are in the process or the status of Juana's paperwork. They wait for the day they both will get a letter in the mail, and hope it says Juana's request to re-enter the United States is approved, a letter announcing the day of the last interview in Juarez, the same day she will be able to reunite with her family.

    "I understand the need to come in documented. I understand the need to come in legally. It is the process. But how can any American go down to Juarez and see what I saw and then criticize any Mexican from crossing the border?" he says.

    "It is all a part of the process. They make it so long, so hard and so drug out that people don't want to do it the right way. It is like playing the lottery," Jason says.

    While they wait, Juana is missing watching her daughter grow taller, hearing about her adventures at school, kissing her hurts to make them go away.

    "My family has entrusted their lives in the laws set by the U.S. government and immigration, and until you hear from them, you have no idea what will happen tomorrow. I've got a 3-year-old who is separated from her mom. The family separation is the ultimate hardship about it," Jason says.

    "I can not give her the time back that she is missing with her mom. I can't give her mom back the time she is missing with Ashlynn."

    Juana calls every morning between 8:30 and 9 a.m. before Ashlynn goes to preschool. "She can't even talk. I barely get a 'hello' out of her broken crack of a voice," Jason says about his wife. "It is to the point that I don't know what to say to her. I tell her it will be O.K., and she asks how do I know? How do you answer that?"

    His wife wonders if they made a mistake. There is no guarantee she will get to come back into the United States.

    "I feel terrible. I need a hug," she said between tears and by phone on Thursday. "All the time I want my baby. My baby needs to stay with her mom."

    Everyday she prays for Jason and Ashlynn, "I pray that Jesus helps me come home fast," Juana said.

    "Want to talk to mommy?" Jason asks Ashlynn a last time before he got off the phone with his wife on Thursday, reaching the phone out to her. She turns away, shaking her head as if the 15-second conversation she had earlier when she grabbed the phone away from daddy was enough.

    Jason put the phone back up to his ear.

    "Keep smiling," Jason says into the phone. "It is going to be OK. It is going to be OK," he says, pausing. "It will."

    How it works

    If a person enters the United States illegally and then decides to become a legal resident, under federal law they must go back to their home country to apply for permanent residency status, or a green card, and are barred from re-entering the U.S. for 10 years.

    Even if the person has married an American, it does not make them a U.S. citizen. The laws changed after 9/11. Any illegal immigrant must leave to go through the process to get a green card.

    If the illegal immigrant has an American family in the U.S. and can prove being separated will create an extreme hardship on the family, he or she can apply for a waiver that could allow them to re-enter the U.S. in as little as six months. However, having a family in the U.S. does not guarantee they ever will be granted a green card or ever allowed back in the United States.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Beckyal's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    don't give her citizenship. All that means is that her family will join her.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    They knew the chance they were taking when they got themselves into this mess. Time to pay the piper. I firmly believe these people thought they could get away with it forever. They were wrong.

    Lots of Americans who commit crimes WISH it was only a matter of six months, or 10 years for that matter, before they could be with their spouses and children again! And they're spending that time in a prison...not living with their dad.

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