By Ian Miles Cheong. Imagine if you had a father to help you get into Yale, one of the most prestigious universities — only to talk so much about your struggle and the oppression you faced growing up, that you end up getting him deported.
In a cruel twist of irony, that’s what happened to Viviana Andazola Marquez, who wrote in The New York Times: “I accidentally turned my dad into immigration services.”
In a Tuesday Times op-ed, the 21-year-old described how her father, Melecio, was detained while in the process of getting his green card to become a permanent resident of the United States, where he has lived illegally since 1988. Previously, she provided extensive detail about her parents’ undocumented status to the Huffington Post.
“Most people can’t wait to turn 21 so that they can drink,” she wrote. “For me, it was the day I could finally petition the government to change my dad’s immigration status. I filed the paperwork in February and believed it would be the beginning of sleeping easier at night, of not worrying about ‘la migra’ every time the phone rang.” (Read more from “Yale Humanities Student Says She Accidentally Got Her Illegal Alien Father Detained” HERE)
I Accidentally Turned My Dad in to Immigration Services
By Viviana Andazola Marquez. This month my father and I drove to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Centennial, Colo., for a routine visit. I offered to drive because my dad was too nervous and excited to take the wheel. “How long have we waited for this day?” he asked me. He had been told to come in for a final interview before he could get approved for legal permanent residency.
But the meeting turned into a nightmare. Several hours after we arrived, I found myself alone, in disbelief. My dad had been detained and was facing deportation proceedings.
My father is undocumented but has lived in the United States since 1998. He has raised four children, all American citizens, on income from construction work. He pays his taxes and plays by the rules. He himself has been a perfect citizen — although, of course, he can’t call himself that.
Regardless of his status, he has earned the right to work hard without the constant anxiety of being apprehended. His children — of whom I am the oldest — deserve that peace of mind too. (Read more from “I Accidentally Turned My Dad in to Immigration Services” HERE)