Extreme Hardship...the basics
To start, you should submit as much information as possible to show that your family members (US Citizen or LPR petitioning for benefit) will suffer extreme hardship. Extreme hardship is not easy to prove. This proof must be submitted by the US Citizen or LPR from their perspective (how it creates extreme hardship for them -- not the intending immigrant). The items below are just general ideas and are not an inclusive list. The extreme hardship must be proven by the US Citizen / LPR petitioning for the benefit and be written by them (that includes everything listed below). Make sure everything submitted is notarized by the US Citizen.
Documents that may help show extreme hardship:
Letters from your US Citizen / LPR spouse, children parents which discuss your relationship, how long your relationship has existed, what you bring to the relationship and how that family member would suffer if you are deported. For example, your spouse could discuss how you met and how long you have been together. She could discuss what you contribute to the relationship, both financially and emotionally. How you are as a husband, father and son. If your children are old enough to write, they can also submit letters. Other family members such as parents, in-laws, siblings can also write letters to discuss the effect on the effected family members.
Health Reasons: Letters from doctors of the US Citizen or LPR that describe your role or part in their treatment (ex: daily care giver at home). This can be important to show any possible extreme hardship that would result from your absence.
If discussing the effect on your children (from the perspective -- and written by -- the US Citizen / LPR), you may be able to get letters from the children's teachers or others who can describe the effect of your absence on them.
Other factors which support finding extreme hardship include the effect of the separation on the family both emotionally and economically, your long history with the family and other evidence of your good moral character.
Make sure that all evidence has documentary proof where available (financial, medical, etc proof).
If it is a difficult case, you may want to also get information about country conditions in your home country, for example about the current job market or education opportunities for children to show the hardship if the family had to move to your country.
Note: It has been reported that a consulate denied a waiver citing that:
"Ms. *** (US Citizen) would suffer extreme hardship if she were to move to the foreign country, but the option remains to stay in the US, which would allow her to keep her employment and benefits, home, family, language, culture, etc."
...so take care to state that if the US Citizen would be "harmed" by staying in the US without the beneficiary that you mention this as well as show the necessary proof.
It is always recommend that you consult a qualified attorney to determine your overall risk and options.
REMEMBER, CONSULT WITH A GOOD ATTORNEY TO HELP GO OVER THE FACTORS OF YOUR CASE!
this is the one that Alan wrote in support of his application. As parents we were told that we did not need a hardship letter from our daughter, had one anyway but we felt this letter from Alan was needed and the immigration officer was really pleased about it. Hope it helps. I also wrote a support letter once I had my visa
The United States Embassy
24 Grosvenor Square
To Whom It May Concern
Re: Mr Alan ****
Case Number; *************
I am writing this letter due to the recent denial of my application for an immigrant visa to the United States of America. I was found ineligible due to multiple criminal convictions. I respectfully request that this waiver be considered due to the length of time that has passed (28 to 34 years), my consequent rehabilitation and that my admission would not be contrary to the security of the United States of America.
Even though it has been 28 years since my offence I still very much regret them and I am ashamed of what I did in the past. Regarding the first offences I was 16 years old, young and foolish and although had a mind of my own it was the "thing" to belong to a gang and coming from an unsettled home it was being with this gang that gave me a sense of belonging. Taking a car without consent, knowing I had no insurance and even though it was my future father in laws, was done more as an act of bravado in order to show off to my then girlfriend and friends. I gave no thought to the consequences of my actions and at the stage in my life the action held no fear for me.
Because of this bravado and couldn't care less attitude that I had at this time, my girlfriend and I ran away and it was during this time that I saw some bank books protruding out of a letter box at a bank and just took them and used them over the next few days. I was apprehended in a stolen car and was also charged with going equipped for burglary as there were tools in the back of the car which also belonged to the owner of the car.
I was sentenced to 3 months remand and it was during this time that I started to become aware of my actions and the consequences of them. Being in remand I feel was responsible for the start of my rehabilitation as I had no desire to be in there again.
I was consequently married at 17 and by the age of 19 had children and my own home, working 80 hours a week to provide for my family. We had our own house which I fully furnished through the long hours I worked. It was during this time, on a night out with friends and having had to much to drink that we all got involved in a fight and the police arrested everyone concerned and we were all charged with assault which resulted in a sentence of 6 months suspended for 2 years. I know I was fortunate and for that I was grateful and was finally brought to my senses. 5 Years later my wife left me for another man taking my children with her and that was the reason that the last offence was committed.
I am not making excuses for what I did, being 24 years old, but in the heat of the moment and being distraught in the knowledge that my children were in the house of my wife's boyfriend I lost my temper and after he had thrown a vacuum cleaner at me, breaking the door, I kicked out at the door and it broke further. The police were called and I surrendered to them and appeared in court. The judge was sympathetic to the reason for my offence but had no option but to charge me with criminal damage but because I was not the one to break the door initially he imposed a fine.
Knowing that my marriage was over and that because of this I had offended again I vowed that I would never do so again and set about building my life on my own. I met my second wife, Valerie, during the period of waiting for my divorce to become final and since that day I have never looked back. We have been together for 28 years and I feel I was given a second chance in being able to help in bringing up her two children from her first marriage, Donna and Lee. Because they too had come from a broken home I did not want what happened to me to happen to them and I was able to show them good, moral and responsible choices. Between us we taught them right from wrong, respect for others and for property and always to be truthful. I am now proud that they are both in successful careers with family of their own and have good lives.
USC DONNA *********** - STEPDAUGHTER
Donna has been in the United States for over 20 years and is now a proud citizen but for the last few years has become increasingly stressed and anxious for many reasons which is impacting on both her family and her career.
Donna has been experiencing severe problems with finding quality care for our grandchildren during the holiday periods and after school during term time whilst she is at work. Not only is the care not reliable but it is also becoming increasingly expensive. On many occasions Donna has had to take time off work as she has been let down by the carers. This is impacting on her career and her otherwise unblemished record of good attendance and timekeeping is being damaged.
Donna is the main wage earner in the family as her husband Marty's company is not large and he is unable to take more than $******* per annum from it, if Donna was to give up her position within ******** Bank the effects on the family income, life style, medical benefits and Donna's pension prospects would be devastating. The pressure that Donna is now finding her self under is becoming unbearable and she is fearful of her own health, her marriage and the welfare of her two children.
Both Donna and Marty have always worked hard to make something of their lives but it has not been easy since Marty left the Navy but the stress they are now under is having a devastating effect on their family life.
Both Valerie my wife and I understand that these anxiety's and stresses are caused through lack of finances and work/home related problems and what they can do to an otherwise loving and stable family, the combination can be overwhelming and have disastrous effects. We do not want to see Donna and Marty separate and eventually divorce because of these horrendous problems that the whole family are experiencing and which neither can see an end to.
Adding to an already extremely worrying and anxious situation is the fact that Donna wishes to be the prime care giver if anything were to happen to either her mother or myself which would be impossible if we were not able to join them in America but these worries are also compounded by the fact that Marty, her husband has parents in an other state and they are much older and will also be requiring care at some stage and he therefore cannot leave the US to reside in the UK.
Donna is now torn between us all and this too is causing friction, both Donna and Marty know that they cannot relocate to the United Kingdom, it is financially impossible for them to do this. The cost of such a move, the impact of taking their children away from all they have ever known and the financial losses that they would incur could never be re-established, nor could Donna's career within ******** Bank.
Purchasing a house in the UK, which are vastly more expensive than in Jacksonville would be out of their reach as they would not have sufficient funding to purchase outright and would be unable to obtain a mortgage. Renting is impossible without financial references and it would be impossible for them to live with us as we only have a two bedroom bungalow.
Trying to find employment at their ages, especially a comparable position for Donna,
would be impossible and she would find it extremely difficult to transfer her skills to a similar workplace in the UK. Donna would lose her pension, her future prospects and everything she has worked so hard to achieve within ********and this we do not want.
Donna's mother and I are prepared to sell everything we have and to realise our investments and move to America in order to support our daughter and family both emotionally and financially. We would be able to provide reliable and loving care to our grandchildren, relieving Donna of the stress and worry that she is constantly under. We will be able to purchase our own home and would not be a financial liability on either our daughter or the state. I intend to build my business in Jacksonville to be as successful as the one I have worked hard for here in the UK. We have our pensions going directly into our ********bank account on a monthly basis and my wife, Donna's mother has the opportunity to be employed by the same bank as Donna.
I made mistakes in my past caused through youth, stupidity and circumstances and which I will always regret but I am not and never have been a bad person. I vowed never to commit other offences and to build an honest and decent life for myself and I have succeeded in that. I know that it will be a privilege to be granted a visa to the United States of America and this privilege would not be abused in any shape or form.
I thank you for taking the time to read my waiver and sincerely hope that you will grant my application for a waiver and allow me to reside in the United States of America with my wife Valerie, our daughter Donna and her husband and our grandchildren.
DENIAL LETTER, RECEIVED FROM EMBASSY
AFTER SUBMITTING COMPLETED 601 APPLICATION
Here is a copy of a denial letter for the I-601 someone was kind enough to send me. It list examples of extreme hardship when filing the I-601. I found it very helpful as my fiance and I filed our waiver. I would strongly recommend that you contact a lawyer to help you in writing the narrative for the waiver. The bulk of the form is an attachment arguing extreme hardship on the US Citizen.
This is in reference to the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability (I-601) you filed in conjunction with your application for an Immigrant Visa. This discretionary waiver is provided for under sections 212 (9)(B)(v) and 212 (i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Favorable consideration of such application requires a finding that the refusal of admission to the United States of such immigrant alien would result in extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent of such alien. Approval also requires a favorable exercise of discretion from the Attorney General. Accordingly, all factors, the favorable against the unfavorable, are evaluated in each case. Your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent is requested to furnish all evidence and/or explanation seemed appropriate to demonstrate that your refusal of admission to the United States would result in extreme hardship to them. This can include letters written by your spouse, parent or other applicable person and other meaningful documents (can include medical, etc.). All claims of hardship must be supported by documentary evidence or explanation specifying the hardship. Family separation and financial inconvenience, in and of themselves, do not necessarily constitute extreme hardship. Therefore, it is important for your spouse or parent to describe and document any other claim that might be a hardship. The above-requested information is necessary to render an equitable and fair decision on your Application for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability. Any response or evidence should be submitted to enable receipt by this office at the above address no-later-than 45 days from the date of this letter. Should you choose not to reply, the case will be decided on the basis of the information already at hand.
A waiver of section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) is dependent first upon a showing that the bar imposes an extreme hardship on a qualifying family member. Congress provided this waiver but limited its application. By such limitation it is evident that it did not intend that a waiver be granted merely due to the fact
that a qualifying relationship existed. The key term in the provision is "extreme" and thus only in cases of real actual or prospective injury to the United States national or lawful permanent resident will the bar be removed. Common results of the bar, such as separation, financial difficulties, etc., in themselves are insufficient to warrant approval of an application unless combined with much more extreme impacts. Matter of Ngai, 19 I & N Dec. 245. With this qualification in mind, furnish documentary evidence proving that failure to receive the waiver requested will result in extreme hardship to your US citizen spouse.
Please be very detailed as to how you meet the "extreme hardship" burden. Keep in mind that the hardship must be to your qualifying family member - not to you.
Extreme hardship can be demonstrated in many aspects of your spouse's life such as:
HEALTH - Ongoing or specialized treatment requirements for a physical or mental condition; availability and quality of such treatment in your country, anticipated duration of the treatment; whether a condition is chronic or acute, or long-or short-term.
b. FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS - Future employability; loss due to sale of home or business or termination of a professional practice; decline in standard of living; ability to recoup short-term losses; cost of extraordinary needs such as special education or training for children; cost of care for family members (i.e., elderly and infirm parents).
c. EDUCATION - Loss of opportunity for higher education; lower quality or limited scope of education options; disruption of current program; requirement to be educated in a foreign language or culture with ensuing loss of time for grade; availability of special requirements, such as training programs or internships in specific fields.
d. PERSONAL CONSIDERATIONS - Close relatives in the United States and /or your country; separation from spouse/children; ages of involved parties; length of residence and community ties in the United States.
e. SPECIAL FACTORS - Cultural, language, religious, and ethnic obstacles; valid fears of persecution, physical harm, or injury; social ostracism or stigma; access to social institutions or structures.
f. Any other situation which you feel may help you meet the burden of extreme hardship.
I hope this helps you understand what you need. My lawyer had us attach as much supporting documentation as we could come up with. If you go back and read some of the other posts I've posted in the last few weeks, you'll find examples of what we included. If you have specific questions, feel free to email me. I'll be glad to help anyway I can.
APPROVED LETTERS IN CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO:
LETTER #1LETTER #1
March 31, 2007
From: Maria ******
Winton, CA 95388
To: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
American Consulate General
Ciudad Juarez, Chih., Mexico
El Paso, Texas 79905-9896
RE: ******XXCASE NUMBER
Applicant: Eloisa Contreras Garcia
Application for Waiver of Grounds of Exculdability (I-601)
Claim of Extreme Hardship for U.S. Citizen (Daughter)
I am a U.S. Citizen urging the immediate waiver of Grounds of Excludability (I-601), so
that my daughter Eloisa and grandchildren may join me in Winton, California
as soon as possible. If Eloisa and my grandchildren were allowed to enter the U.S.,
it would alleviate the burden of extreme hardship in my situation.
Family unification is so important, when there is a strong bond between a daughter
and mother, not to mention the bond one inherits when grandchildren are present.
If this bond is taken away by not allowing immigration to U.S., it will cause extreme
stress and hardship to both parties involved.
I have worked a hard and honest life, since coming to the United States, I believe in the
morals and values of being a United States citizen, and as a parent would like to pass
on these principles to my family.
Moving to Mexico is not an option for me, as I am now well established here in the U.S.
I have my employment and home with my current husband, who was born in the U.S.
For me to move to Mexico, would mean my husband too, would have to re-locate, and
that would also be extreme hardship on him, as he has been employed at his current job,
for nearly 24 years. Neither one of us, would gain the type of wages we currently earn, not
to mention the Health benefits here compared to Mexico.
Our home environment is safe one, the neighbors are friendly and our community, has
alot to offer for Eloisa and the children. I believe this is what all parents would want for
Let me mention, that Eloisa has a brother whom I was able to immigrate here, he was a minor
at the time I petition for him, unfortunately Eloisa was already an adult, and her petition has
been in process for the past 12 yrs. As a mother, I would like to have my family reunited, and
have a strong bond and unity in the family.
As you know my husband, is the co-sponsor and has pledged to help Eloisa
and the children by aiding in shelter and monetary help, until employment
or schooling has been achieved by Eloisa, which we know she is bright, and
can become a productive person in the community.
As per the definition of Harship, it has many, two of which affect me
personally. (1) something hard to endure and (2) something that
causes or entails suffering. The two definitions above would most
certainly apply to me should our application me denied. A second
denial would be devastating. I sincerely hope that this letter would,
constitute extreme hardship.
I and Eloisa regret that a wrong decision was made in the past, with
her entering the U.S. illegally. Nothing can change that now, but a
sincere apology on our part. It has now been (5) years, since she
returned to Morelia, Michoacan. I believe we now have been
educated in the Immigration Process, and know why there are laws
and regulations concerning visa applications.
Pleas Sir/Madam read this hardship letter several times if need to, and
come to the right and just decision to approve this waiver. A denial would
have a great emotional and stressful impact. I miss Eloisa and my
grandchildren, the very present strain at this time of separation should
constitute a powerful hardship.
Due to the above stated subject matter, I respectfully request the waiver
to be approved and Eloisa be allowed to be reunited with our family in
the United States.
Ciudad JuΓ‘rez, MEXICO
Courtesy of Mac7782 who was approved through the Pilot Program April 17, 2007
April 7, 2007
From: FIRST MIDDLE NAME
Little Rock, AR 72211
To: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
American Consulate General
Ciudad Juarez, Chih., Mexico
P.O. Box 9896
El Paso, Texas 79905-9896
Applicant: FIRST MIDDLE LAST
Application for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability (I-601)
Claim of Extreme Hardship for U.S. Citizen Spouse
Dear Sir or Ma'am:
I am a U.S. Soldier currently stationed in Jacksonville, AR as an Army recruiter. I am writing this letter in regards to the I601 waiver on behalf of my wife Norma. The separation would cause an extreme hardship not only on me but on our 5 year old daughter, Kaylee, who is also a United States Citizen.
Kaylee was hospitalized in September of 2004 for meningitis caused by Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (a form of staph infection). The infection spread to her heart, hips, right wrist, and gallbladder and of course was in her spinal fluid. She spent 2 months in ICU at Arkansas Children's Hospital being administered broad spectrum antibiotics. The next month was spent waiting for the abscess in her heart to heal enough that they could do surgery to repair the mitral valve. The abscess healed and she had open heart surgery in December of 2004 to repair the mitral valve. She is required to see a cardiologist every six months. At the last visit in December of 2006, we were told that she would need another surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve because it was not allowing sufficient blood flow. The doctor could not tell us when the surgery would be required but that it would be soon and we need to watch for signs of her condition getting worse.
During her stay in the hospital her hips became dislocated due to the infection and the ball of her right femur actually became detached. Surgery was performed to reattach the ball to the femur. Kaylee is required to attend Physical therapy twice per week for her hips. Kaylee is also required to see an orthopedic doctor every six months for her hips as well as a hand surgeon for her wrist which was affected by the infection. She has limited mobility in her right wrist and the surgeon wants to do surgery to remove some of the bones and wants to teach her to be left handed.
Kaylee is very attached to her mother and has never been away from Norma. It would cause an extreme hardship to me and Kaylee to bring her to the United States without her mother. Kaylee is currently in Mexico with Norma awaiting this waiver. It is not possible for me to care for our daughter by myself because I work 12-14 hour days and I can not afford child care that would have the ability to take her to therapy twice per week as well as her doctors' appointments. I work as late as 10 pm and there is no child care available that late.
I fear that our daughter's medical conditions will worsen while she is in Mexico. She is staying in the town of Madera in Chihuahua. Madera only has a small clinic which is unable to attend to my daughter's medical needs if she were to worsen. The nearest city (Chihuahua) is 4 hours away and our daughter could be dead by the time that she reached Chihuahua.
Kaylee is 5 years old and will begin school this coming year. It would be an extreme hardship on Kaylee and me if she could not go to school in the United States. If she were to attend school in Mexico her English would not properly develop because she would not be speaking English. This would cause difficulty for me to communicate with her because I do not speak Spanish.
Not allowing my wife back into the United States would be an extreme hardship on me because I am a soldier and she is my support. We have been married for 6 years and she fully supports my choice to be a soldier. Life has not always been easy for us. In January of 2003 I was separated from my wife for 6 months due to Operation Iraqi Freedom. That was a rough 6 months but I made it through because of the support of my wife. I was not worried about her because I knew that she was in the United States and had my fellow soldier's spouses to help her. I have spent several other times separated from my wife for various military schools. The latest being Recruiter school in July of 2004. In September of 2004 we were relocated to Little Rock, AR to begin my tour of duty as an Army recruiter. My wife has had to deal with me working 12-14 hour days while she maintains the house, our daughter as well as many other things which I would normally take care of. I have not had to worry about a thing as I have performed the most difficult duty of my career. My wife is the reason that I continue to drive on. It is extremely difficult for me to focus on my work as an Army Recruiter because my wife and daughter are in Mexico. I worry for them on a daily basis that they could be attacked or that my daughter's medical conditions could worsen. Because I am a soldier it is impossible for me to move to Mexico to be with my family. My family is very important to me. As you can see I understand separation and can deal with that, it her inability to be in the United State that is the extreme hardship for me because there is no one to support me and take care of the home front.
In conclusion, being separated from my wife and if my daughter were to have to be separated from my wife would cause and extreme hardship to me and my daughter who are both United States citizens.
Michael L. Last name
HSL Courtesy of I2US member Dina who was approved April 13, 2006
The Nov one is pre this site, the Jan one is using this site, especially USA girl's sticky.
EDIT for add-notes:
1st letter: letter from (alien)'s employer
letter of employement offer from my family member
Personal letter from my dad
letter from our loan officer
2nd letter- letter from my daughter's doctor
letter from my doctor
I also did a letter on my daughter's behalf in Nov, but since the hardship has to be to me, not my daughter, I don't know if they even read it.
Dear Sir or Madame: November , 2005
My name is (name). I am a United States-born Citizen (copy of birth certificate provided at interview) as well as the wife and sponsor of (alien)(marriage certificate and Affidavit of Support provided at interview).
(Alien) and I are applying for his lawful permanent residency in the United States. It is our understanding you will be the one to grant or deny our request. It is also my understanding that I need to justify to you why he should be allowed to stay, how denying his admission back into the United States would create extreme hardship on my part. While I have much to say, I understand and respect that your time is valuable; therefore I have outlined the points I feel I most need to make and have attached my research at the end. I am more than willing to speak with you person to person should you have any question or need me to elaborate.
First and foremost, (alien) should be granted residency in the United States because we have established a family here and are committed to being husband and wife as well as parents.
· After more than x years of dating (our x-year anniversary is this Dec. x!) and x years already living together, we wed on (date)
· We have a deep love and commitment to one another. We have learned to understand and appreciate one another and each other's languages and cultures. We understand and support one another in all we do. We take our marriage vows seriously and live our lives fulfilling the promises we made before God.
· On (date) our daughter, (name), was born in (place) (see birth certificate with her letter). God willing, we intend to have more children in the future. Family is utmost important to both of us.
· If I am to become a single parent, this would mean the more time some one else is raising my child while I work to provide for our family. Naturally, raising my own child is critical to me and I want to be able to raise my child how she deserves.
· (alien) and I actively share our parenting roles. We rely on one another for advice, support, and guidance, as well to give the other "alone" time.
· Traditionally, (daughter) and I depend on (alien) to fulfill our basic needs (Psychology- Mash low's hierarchy of 7 needs) to feel safe and secure(alien) protects us from harm, calms our fears, takes care of us when we are sick; in general, he makes everything okay.
· Customarily as well, I depend on (alien) to fulfill the "male" tasks- i.e. shoveling the snow, tending to house repairs and upkeep, maintenance of our vehicles, lifting the heavy objects, etc.
· (alien) is my support- physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially.
· (alien) is also a "family man" with the extended family. We do a lot with them, from meals, to parties, to lending a helping hand (laying concrete, auto repairs, every day tasks,) etc. My brother (name), x years old, looks to (alien)o as a role model.
Most of all, (daughter) and I need (alien) here because we love him. When we are apart, our hearts yearn for one another. Without each other, there is an emptiness no one else can ever fill. (alien) is my husband, my best friend, the father of my child; I wouldn't have it any other way.
In addition to family separation there are financial hardships to consider.
· In (date), (alien) and I purchased a home with the assistance of a (type) loan Because (alien) does not have a social security number as of yet, the loan was written to my name. We have discussed our intent with our loan officer to add him the loan once a social security number has been assigned to him (see 2-1). Due to (state) Marital property law, his name does appear on the title to the house, therefore the house loan is just as much his responsibility as it is mine.
· (alien) came to the United States in order to be better able to provide for his parents. Ever since I met (alien), he has sent money to his family every month, or depending on our financial situation, as often as possible. Realistically, (alien) and I provide not for a family of 3 but rather for a family of 5 (alien), (daughter), his father (who cannot work due to a diabetic condition), his mother (needed at home to care for her husband), and I. As (alien) is my husband, taking care of and providing for his parents is just as much my responsibility as it is his. *According to the poverty guidelines relating to the Affidavit of Support, I would still qualify to be (aliens)'s sponsor if his parents would be considered dependents.
· While my income meets the requirements to be (alien)'s sponsor, consistently rising prices demand a dual-working family. Without (alien)'s income, I could support my family for a short period of time with my own income and the little money (roughly $***) we set aside before (alien) left for Mexico. However, there is little room for unexpected expenses let alone non-budget items or savings. For example, my monthly income (after taxes is roughly $***). Childcare and the loan payment alone consume $***of my monthly income ($*** for house payment and $*** in childcare). Without (alien), I would surely have to sell our house, the home we have worked so hard to make our own.
· In 2006, the overall gas-market is expecting a x-x% increase. (company), the our local gas and electric provider, will be tacking on an additional x% increase on gas prices. Electrical prices are expected to increase by x% as well. According to the director of the Department of Energy, consumers can expect to spend 2/3 of their take home this coming winter on home heating costs alone. During the month of November, just the start of the "cold season," the gas portion of the energy bill was $xx (see 2-2). However, 3 weeks of this month the gas heat was turned down low as possible and gas appliances were not in use as we were in Mexico.
· As my income is over the eligible limit, I do not qualify for any government assistance (i.e. health care costs, day care expenses, food or housing assistance, energy assistance, etc) (see 2-3).
· Without (alien), my family is reliant on me as the sole source of income.
(alien) and I have worked very hard for everything we have, sometimes even working 2 jobs. Being able to preserve what we have worked for and to continue to grow and provide the most and best we can is incredibly important to both of us.
And then there are employment issues to consider....
· As Manager of a (busniss), I serve "on-call" shifts. Part of the requirements of being "on-call" is being able to literally drop everything and go in to work for an employee who did not show up for a shift, to solve any sort of problem, emergency, etc. As I cannot bring (daughter) with me, I depend on (alien)o to care for her when I am called in. I am also called in to work many 3rd shift hours. Without (alien), at this time of night, I would be unable to find a sitter, and even if I did, I would have to wake up my sleeping child to take her there. Not being able to fulfill the responsibilities of my position could jeopardize my employment.
· Not only is my job one I enjoy and have worked at for the past x years (almost x years in management), I also need this job because my employer pays our family insurance premiums. This is at least a $xx per month savings.
· If I was to lose this job, I will be facing a pay cut (especially considering I do not have my degree as of yet), my family would be without insurance (even if new employment offered insurance, there would have been a lapse of insurance, thus subjecting my family to all sorts of pre-existing conditions, a clause of most insurance policies). I would also lose vacation time, set schedule, and other benefits I have worked to acquired.
· Despite discrimination laws, realistically single parents face difficulty obtaining employment due to schedule conflicts, weary employers, etc.
To verify information, please feel free to contact (name), (position/business )at (#).
Somewhat related are the educational hardships...
· I have not yet finished my college education; I have had to put it on hold primarily for financial reasons. It is my and (alien)'s goal that together, we can afford for me to continue my education and obtain my degree. I have at least x years of full-time schooling left in order to do so. I plan to attend (school). Without (alien) to financially provide for our family, I will be unable to continue my education. See 4-1 to confirm previous college attendance
· Equally important for us is for (alien) to obtain his degree. Upon receiving his permanent residency in the United States be intends to enroll in either (program)or (program) at (school). See 4-2 for program details
· Furthering our education is critical for us to obtain the more secure, better paying jobs we both desire as well as for self-fulfillment
· It is important for us that our children are able to further their education and that we are able to financially help them to do so. Without (alien), I barely have enough income to get by, let alone save for my aspiration.
As minimal as they may seem, there are a few medial hardships to consider:
· I have previously noted (alien) and I desire to have more children. (daughter) was born via an emergency cesarean (insurance document 5-1). The risks of uterine rupture are 3 times greater if I attempt another natural birth (see WEB MD article, 5-2), therefore I most likely will have to undergo another cesarean, a price I am willing to "pay" for more children. Recovery time for c-sections is longer, so (alien)'s assistance in raising our children will be even more critical until I can recover and then assist in parenting. It is important for skilled care and to have confidence in the medical care one received. Dr. (name) has been my OB every since I have lived in (city) (x years). She is well aware of my medical history. It is also important for (alien) and I for our children to be naturally-born US citizens, the land of opportunity
· The stress and anxiety of being separated from my husband ((alien) has been residing with his family in (city) since his interview), from having to assume responsibility for everything at our home in (state), being a "single" parent, providing for our family (and his family) on my own, the decisions to be made, etc has been overwhelming. I have experience migraines, upset stomach, abdominal cramping, depression, sleep deprivation, etc. I do what I can to try to stay in good health, to keep good sprits, but naturally it is not easy. I worry about the long-term effects on my body
Some other factors I feel you should take into consideration regarding (alien)'s wavier application include
Social values of (alien) and I:
· We pay our taxes (copies of income taxes were provided at interview, with Affidavit)
· As homeowners, we have a large interest in electing government officials, voting on referendums, city planning, growth and development, etc.
· We currently attend community activities like festivals, bake sales, charity/ fund raising sales, fun nights, parades, etc. We contribute to school fundraisers. We donate to the Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries. We have donated to the (state) State Troopers Association.
· We anticipate and look forward in becoming active in the schools- sports, organizations, volunteering, etc.
· As a family, we intend to become more active in the church, including participating with our child(ren) in religious studies.
· We maintain good relations with our neighbors- from visiting, to helping shovel snow, to repairs on vehicles, etc.
· We are law-abiding citizens.
· (alien) and I live our lives as and are good people. We are well respected by family, friends, co-workers, and the community.
(alien)'s economic value:
· He is a hard worker and his work is quality. His superiors admire his skills and final product.
· (alien) is currently employed with (business) (a letter from the company follows). I met with (names), owners of the company when I returned from Mexico. (alien)'s loss is being felt and the await his return
· (alien) will never be without work as there is always an open position for him with my (family member)'s business, (name). (see letter from (name) which follows)
Goals (alien) and I have set:
· We plan to build the home of our dreams.
· We want to start saving for our retirement years through work-sponsored 401K plans and other savings options
· Travel back and forth to Mexico to maintain relationships with family
Sir or Madame, I understand I have given you a lot to consider. I hope you understand how important having (alien) in my life, my family's lives is important is and how difficult like without him here would be. I plead you to not separate my family and longer, but help us in staying together in the United States.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
American Consulate General
Cuidad Juarez, Chih. Mexico
PO Box 9896
El Paso, TX 79905-9896
Dear Officer in Charge:
In December of 2005, I submitted to you my hardship letters for case # CDJ***XX (Alien's Name)(copies follow). Since this time, I have acquired more supporting documents that I feel could benefit my case. Also, as I now better understand what information was being requested for the hardship letter, I appreciate the opportunity to add a few other examples of hardship not included in the previous one. I sincerely appreciate your accepting and consideration of this letter.
Financial/ Economic Additions
Loss of employment opportunities:
I have worked x years at my current job to climb from part-time (CRS) to full-time Assistant General Manager. I am well respected by my co-workers as well as have built a loyal cliental of Customers. My performance evaluations have always met or exceed the position requirements (F/E-1). I am rightfully proud of my accomplishments. If I have to move to Mexico, I will have to surrender my current employment. Giving up all I have worked for... would be a slap in the face, unjust, let alone depressing. Customerss and my co-workers whom I have come to know so well that we are like family would also feel a great loss.
Due to my inability to speak the Spanish language, my lack of completing a college degree, differences in employment opportunities, etc, I have yet to find a position in Mexico at which I am likely to secure that would be comparison in nature let alone comparable in wage to my current position.
In fact, after researching about requirements and specifications for Visas allowing me to reside in Mexico at www.solutionaboard.com, www.internationaliving.com, www.ricardobarraza.com, I am unsure I would even be eligible to obtain employment. In Mexico, I would not have an income/be a business owner, be a student, am not a professional, won't be retired, thus ineligible for a work permit, as I understand.
I have always maintained gainful employment since I was 16. Not being able to provide for my family financially would be hard to accept, stressful both mentally and financially, as well as a blow to my self-esteem.
Once we are able to return to the United States, my employment future is uncertain. By that time, I will be XX years old. I will still not have a college degree. If a minimum of an Associates Degree is required of practically every professional/technical job at this time, what hope do I have in 2016? The possibility of my securing employment comparable to my current position would be slim to none.
Loss of Education Opportunities:
I had considered completing my degree in Mexico. Once again due to the lack of ability to understand and speak the Spanish language and without an income coming in to pay the costs, attending college in Mexico is not possible for me. As I stressed in the first letter, higher education is essential for me not just for self-fulfillment but also to maintain and expand my employment opportunities.
(My Daughter) will also be losing education opportunities. (Daughter) is almost 3 years old. School age is less than 2 years away for her. In the United States, (daughter) would attend a bilingual school. This would give her the opportunities to learn American and Mexican languages, cultures, etc. simultaneously. (daughter) has a right to do so, not to mention doing so would improve her relationships with both sides of her family. In Mexico, in order for J(daughter) to attend a bilingual school, she would have to attend a private school such as (name). Provided she is even accepted, we would have to pay tuition as well as other costs. Due to financial hardships, we would not be able to pay the fee and (daughter) would have to attend public, Spanish-speaking only schools. Providing our daughter with the best of both worlds has always been a priority to me. Not being able to provide her with this education opportunity would make me a failure.
Loss of Assets:
As indicated in the previous letter, I purchased a home in (date). If I had to move to Mexico, I would certainly have to sell this home as I could not afford to make the monthly payment (F/E-2) and that I am unable to rent out the home due to a provision of being a (type) loan. This home is our first home. (Alien) and I have waited for and worked hard to be able to buy this house for many years. Having to sell it would be devastating.
I would also be forced to sell many of our family's belongings (ranging from vehicles to furniture to personal belongings), as I could not afford to move them across the continent and due to customs restrictions. Many of our belongings were given to us through family and friends or were gifts to one another. While the price value of many of our belongings could someday be restored, their sentimental values are irreplaceable.
Loss of Good Credit Rating:
As part of the home-buying process we completed in (date), our mortgage company ran a credit history on (Alien) and I (F/E-3). As you can see, my credit scores are high.
Moving to Mexico would bring much financial upset for us. As I mentioned, our home would have to be sold. It can't be certain that our home could be sold at a price more than I borrowed ($XX- F/E-4), in which case I still have to repay the difference. Even if it did sell at value, there are still closing costs, remaining bills, etc to be paid. It is also uncertain how long it could take for our home to sell; I am still responsible to make mortgage payments ($*** per month) until the sale is closed on.
I am also under contract with my cellular provided until (date)(F/E-5). As my provider is for the state of (state) only, I would have to cancel or break this contract. This will result in additional fees and penalties.
The (card type) credit account (F/E-6) that will have to be paid up and then possibly cancelled. The current credit limit on this account is $***X.
Not to mention the costs of obtaining visa for (daughter) and I to move to Mexico, the costs of moving what possessions we could, all the unexpected expenses... the list goes on.
As hard as I will try to make sure payments are made in full and on point in time, it can't be assured that I will always be able to. As life has taught me, all the bills seem to pour in at once. Recovering from these financial upsets could take years.
For these reasons, my high credit rating is at risk. A poor credit history will make obtaining another loan in the future difficult and I certainly would not be able to obtain a loan near the amount I was able to this last time.
Financial Support of Loved Ones
As mentioned in the first letter, I now provide for my in-laws as well as my own family, thus for a family of 5. As repeated above, by moving to Mexico I will surrender my current employment and will potentially be unable to work thus unable to provide for my family. My ailing father-in-law, stay-home mother-in-law, daughter, husband, and I will be solely dependent on whatever employment my husband is able to obtain. We all will feel financial hardship and instability, stress, lower standards of living, etc.
Loss of Retirement Savings
At this time, I regretfully have not been able to start saving for retirement. It is our expectations that once (alien) is allowed to return, we will start our retirement savings. We plan to participate in 401ks, stocks, bonds, etc. If (alien)'s wavier is denied and we have to wait to be eligible to return until 2016, I will be XXand he XX. That doesn't leave much time for savings, thus hindering our retirement future and stability.
Medically related additions:
As noted in the previous letters, (daughter), our daughter, is a patient of ENT specialist Doctor (name). In the letter, I indicated my concern for (daughter) to remain under Doctor (name)'s care. In the attached letter from Dr. (name) (medical-1), she supports my concern for (daughter) to remain in her care. In the letter, Dr. (name) explains (daughter)'s treatment, indicates she prefers follow-up care with her, how (daughter) would benefit from continued care in (city), (state), and thus her support for (alien)'s return.
An area of medically related hardships I inadvertently left out in my last letter was dental care. At my (year) check-up a (clinic name), the hygienist found 10 cavities. Due to medical and financial conflicts of recently giving birth, I prolonged treatment at that time. By my check-up in (year), my decision to prolong treatment had resulted in having a molar pulled at that time (due to a cavity that had deteriorated the tooth beyond repair). It was also discovered I need 2 root canals and a crown, in addition to the cavities still needing restoration.
As our family is in a better financial situation than we were then combined with the fact that I now have reliable dental insurance (medical-2), proper dental care is a priority for 2006. Due to advances in the dental technology, i.e. x-rays, sedation dentistry, etc, I can receive better dental care in the United States versus Mexico. Additionally, as dental procedures are quite costly, my dental insurance will aid in paying much of the cost (medical-3).
It is imperative that I complete treatment as soon as possible and continue with regular follow-up visits. Prolonging proper dental care any further could result in my conditions becoming worse, loss of more teeth, disease, etc. which all could result in problems with speech, eating, and so forth. A move to Mexico would interrupt and delay treatment.
Lastly, I submit to you family's medical history.
On my maternal side:
· Grandmother (xxyears of age): lengthy history of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, Leukemia, adult on-set diabetes, gave birth to a still-born child, seizures, stokes, some resulting in partial paralysis of limbs; cataracts
· Grandfather (died at xx years of age): diverticulosis (pockets of the colon), gallstones, cataracts which resulted in eye surgery, Parkinson's disease (he died in (year) from pneumonia, a complication of the disease)
· Mother (xx years of age): currently high-risk for adult onset diabetes, miscarriage, high cholesterol, ovarian cysts, gallstones, digestive tract issues
On my paternal side:
· Great Grandfather: Parkinson's disease
· Great Aunt: Died of breast cancer
· Grandfather: Lupus, hearing loss requiring hearing aides, prostate cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer on his lip
· Grandmother: hearing loss requiring hearing aides, migraines
· Father: high blood pressure
On our daughter (name)'s paternal side:
· Paternal grandfather (xx years of age): diabetes
· Father (xx years of age): kidney stones
My current medical history:
· Repetitive (typically 1-2 per year) Urinary tract infections since a toddler- treated with various antibiotics
· Cesarean birth of child in (year) *as noted in the first letter, a previous cesarean increase the risks to the health of the mother as well as the child with future pregnancies.
(daughter)'s current medical history:
· Strawberry (incorrectly developed blood vessel) on upper right chest- checked at routine visits for changes in color and size
· Repetitive ear infections resulting in tubes being place in ears- 2004. Currently under treatment and follow-up for this condition
· Heart murmur was heard while in the womb (has since subsided, but carefully listened for at every check-up)
While there is no guarantee either (daughter) or I will inherit any of these conditions, as you can see, we are at risk for several serious health conditions (Parkinson's, Diabetes, Cancer pregnancy risks). While some of them are preventable, others are not. Some of the conditions are curable; others can be life threatening (heart murmur, cancers, strokes, high blood pressure) or terminal (Parkinson's, Diabetes). Most of them require appropriate immediate or continued treatment to prevent further complications or illnesses (Diabetes, Urinary track infections, gallstones, ear infections, etc).
(daughter)'s and my doctors are well aware of our family medical history. They are accustomed to diagnosing, treating, even preventing such conditions as well as many others. A move to Mexico would translate into us having to find new doctors, familiarizing them with our histories (something that will not easily done due to language barriers). While I am familiar with and have confidence in the health facilities and procedures in the United States, I am unsure about, unaware of the availability of, and have my reservations about the health care in Mexico (for example, the "tubes in ears" procedure was something out of the ordinary to the health professionals I spoke with in Mexico, meanwhile in the U.S., it's a common, low-risk procedure).
Currently, my employer provides my family's health insurance and pays the full premium. This insurance typically covers the majority of our health care costs. It also provides prescription drug coverage (medical-4).
According to travel.state.gov, health insurance from the United States is not applicable in Mexico. While health insurance may be available, due to our financial status if we move to Mexico, we will be unable to maintain health insurance coverage; therefore we may have to forgo health insurance while we live there. Once we return to the United States, we would be subject to a "pre-existing conditions" clause due to a lapse in insurance coverage. According to this clause, a clause true to every insurance coverage I have ever had (medical-5), if under the new coverage we are treated for a condition we had previously, all the expenses related to the treatment would be out-of- (our) pocket (not covered) due to being a pre-existing condition. I am certain you can understand this could become quite costly, further hindering our financial situation.
As I have previously indicated, the language barrier would be a great hardship I would have to overcome. I still have trouble understanding and speaking to language. Not being able to communicate well with others will hinder my employment opportunities, ability to further education, not to mention isolate me from personal relationships with family and to ability to make friends. It would be frustrating and challenging, downright depressing. As (daughter) is young and able to learn the language quickly, the language barrier could also isolate me from my own child.
Religiously Related Additions
I am a (religion). I was baptized when I was x years old ((name), (church/location)) and confirmed when I was x years old ((name), (where)). I was raised strict (religion).
(alien), on the other hand, is (religion). His family is strict (religion).
Just as important for our children to know, understand, and respect both their American and Mexican heritages, it is imperative to (alien) and I that our children know, understand, and respect both the (religion) and the (religion) religions.
In the United States, (religion) and (religion) religions are both well-recognized and widely practiced religions (Religion-1). Both the (religion) and (religion) churches in our home city of (city/State) provided services and programs in English as well as in Spanish (Religion-2). Meanwhile in Mexico, (religion) churches are few. I am not aware of any (religion) services in English.
A move to Mexico would be religiously unfair to (daughter) and I. We would not be able to practice the (religion) religion with the respect and opportunities that we could in the United States. This greatly disappoints me, especially at a time when God is most needed in our lives.
Family Related Additions
I have no family other than my husband, daughter, and in-laws in Mexico. Moving there would separate me from parents (2 sets of birth/step), sisters (1/3 step), brothers (1 1/2 & 4step), aunts (3 immediate), uncles (4 immediate), cousins (10 immediate), grandparents (3), nephew; all of whom I have been close to for all my life.
If (alien), (daughter), and I are to live to live in Mexico, money will be so tight that we wouldn't be able to afford for (daughter) and I to return to the US to visit. (alien), of course, would not be allowed to return. Being separated from our family would be devastating to us all, especially considering how close and "there for each other" as we have all been able to be in the past.
I am a firm believer that no place can ever feel like "home" without your family.
Since being separated from (alien) in November of 2005, I have suffered much psychological strain. I worried about providing for my family, worried about preparing for our future, had to assume responsibility for every aspect of our lives.
This last month, I took (daughter) to live with (alien) in Mexico for a few weeks. As hard as it was emotionally and mentally to let her go, I couldn't keep her father from her and I couldn't keep his child from him. I need (daughter) just as much as he needs her. She needs her father in her life and much as she needs her mother. What was done was done so in everyone's best interests and to keep our family together the best we can.
Nothing compares to the devastation and isolation I have felt from being separated from (alien) and now (daughter). I have cried many of tears for countless hours on end. I am riding the emotional roll-a-coaster of hope and despair. I can't sleep at night nor eat during the day. I can't focus at work; my job performance is being affected. The lonesomeness, the heartache... some days it's too great to bear. The pains I feel are ones no mother, no wife should ever have to feel.
Thankfully I have such a loving and supportive family who helps me through each and every day. They- my parents, sister, grandparents, cousins, in-laws, even husband and daughter- have helped me to be strong, stay hopeful, and keep faith. I pray to God numerous times throughout the day to bring us back together and let our lives be normal again.
Sir or Madame, once again I greatly appreciate your taking these addition points into consideration. I hope I have shown through all my letters that without a doubt the extreme hardships my family and I are enduring and the extreme hardships we will continue to endure if (alien) cannot be admitted back into the United States.
I plead to you to please approve (alien)'s waiver and end this separation. God Bless!
APPROVED, MEXICO, CON'T...
Approved HSL Courtesy of Member Ratito921 ~ CDJ who was approved May 10, 2007
I hope this letter can help other people here. It closely resembles Lulu's letter as I felt hers was heartfelt and easily understandable and it got straight to the point. Of course I did change a lot of things, but I used her format. She and I also had A LOT in common.
For the letter and evidence hubby's name and case number were printed on each page. The entire packet was give or take 250 pages. It included my letter, hubby's letter, a letter from his sister, a letter from his mother, a letter from my parents, a letter from my brother and sister in law, a letter from his employer.
Case number: CDJ*********
United States Consulate General
Av. Lopez Mateos 924 Nte.
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
I am submitting this affidavit in support of the I-601 Waiver of Grounds of Excludability for my husband ALIEN case number CDJ*********.
HARDSHIPS TO ME, THE U.S. CITIZEN
If ALIEN is not admitted to the United States I will suffer severe and unusual hardship above and beyond what I have already suffered.
Already since ALIEN departure I have had to give up selling and maintaining property and liability insurance. A career in which I worked extremely hard to become licensed in and professionally established. (See Exhibit A) In the insurance business I was paid based on commission and since all of our savings have been exhausted due to ALIEN departure I was forced to seek other career options.
I feel deeply compelled each day to be reunited with ALIEN and to share our lives together as we once did and as we have every right to do. However, doing so in Mexico would greatly endanger my safety, cause significant psychological stress, strain my relationship with my family, completely deplete our finances and end our dreams of starting a family of our own.
CONCERN FOR SAFETY
I will face significant, potentially life threatening risks to my personal safety if I move to Mexico to be with my husband, due to crimes involving tourist such as robberies and kidnappings. I do not have a vehicle that I would be able to take to Mexico therefore I would have to travel by metro and taxi. As reported in the U.S. Department of State Consulate Information Sheet for Mexico (See Exhibit B) taking a taxi in Mexico City is extremely dangerous as some tourists have been beaten, shot, and sexually assaulted. It's also been reported that some Mexican law enforcement officials are corrupt and have been known to harass and mistreat Americans and sometimes bribe them.
On my previous visit to Mexico my husband and his family members kept their eyes on me at all times. As difficult as it was for my husband and his family to keep me safe during my visit, if I were forced to live in Mexico permanently the stress will have an immeasurable impact on our lives because I will live in constant fear for my safety.
FUTURE FAMILY AND MEDICAL CONCERNS
It is medically imperative that we start our family in the very near future. I have increased risks of infertility and miscarriage due to PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome). I was diagnosed with PCOS in 1999. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that can affect a woman's menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones, insulin production, heart, blood vessels, and appearance. Women with PCOS have these characteristics: high levels of male hormones, also called androgens, an irregular or no menstrual cycle, may or may not have many small cysts in their ovaries. Cysts are fluid-filled sacs. PCOS is the most common hormonal reproductive problem in women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS can be at an increased risk for developing several other conditions. Irregular menstrual periods and the absence of ovulation cause women to produce the hormone estrogen, but not the hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, which causes the endometrium to shed each month as a menstrual period, the endometrium becomes thick, which can cause heavy bleeding or irregular bleeding. Eventually, this can lead to endometrial hyperplasia or cancer. Women with PCOS are also at higher risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Getting the symptoms under control at an earlier age may help to reduce this risk. (See Exhibit C)
In March/April of 2004 I became pregnant with our first child. The pregnancy was ectopic and at 10 weeks I was given an injection of methotrexate to stop the growth due to the fact that it was lodged in my left fallopian tube. Methotrexate stops the growth of rapidly dividing cells, such as embryonic, fetal, and early placenta cells. It is used at various times to end an early ectopic pregnancy. (See Exhibit C) ALIEN and I were extremely excited about our pregnancy. We had already chosen names for the baby whether it was a boy or girl and were busy making plans for the baby's arrival. In June of 2004 I spent a few days in the hospital due to the ectopic pregnancy. The methotrexate had failed and my hormone levels were rising. The baby was continuing to grow in my fallopian tube which caused a lot of pain and slowly started an infection. Finally on the fifth day of hospitalization after being filled with fluids and antibiotics and undergoing many ultrasounds we made the decision for me to undergo surgery to remove the baby from my fallopian tube. I was at risk of losing my fallopian tube and possibly my ovary. (See Exhibit D) I was fortunate enough not to have had my fallopian tube removed, however I was advised that there could be scar tissue which could cause blockage and that it is possible that only my right ovary and right fallopian tube could assist us in our next pregnancy.
After losing our first child together ALIEN and I were very apprehensive about trying to conceive another child. It is imperative that ALIEN be with me in order to conceive another child. We have been trying to conceive for a year witout any luck. It is now time for us to take the next step and attempt fertility treatments involving Clomid. Clomid is a fertility drug used to induce ovulation. When I do conceive I will be considered high risk due to my medical history and will need to be closely monitored should any complications arise. Due to my already present risk of severe complications, doctors have advised me not to wait any longer to attempt to conceive.
Here in the United States, I am not only confident that I will have the expert care I will need access to advanced medical facilities, but I also have excellent insurance through my employer which will cover my medical expenses. (See Exhibit E) However, without ALIEN financial support (which would not be possible considering the average months pay would be between $150-$200), I would not be able to afford having a baby, especially if I am ordered to bed-rest throughout my pregnancy (therefore unable to work) to prevent any complications. Additionally, I can not raise a child alone, when my husband, who is my greatest source of emotional support and would be my only source of financial support, is miles away from me. This would be an extreme hardship for myself, as well as for my child who would be deprived of his/her father.
If I am living in Mexico on the other hand, I will not have medical insurance and it will be impossible to have access to even a remotely comparable level of medical technology and expertise. With infant mortality rates at 20/1000 births (more than three times higher than the 6/1000 in the United States), and inadequate technology to ensure a safe pregnancy to term, we will be placing our baby's life at risk if we try to begin our family in Mexico. (See Exhibits C and F)
It would be a cruel and extreme hardship to subject our child to the choices of growing up in the safety, security and proper education of the United States without his/her father or to grow up in a poverty stricken Third-World country with him. Without ALIEN presence here in the United States, under these circumstances, we could not attempt to start a family.
Additionally I have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder. I have experienced many episodes of shortness of breath, pressure and pain in my chest and numbness in my arm and fingers all symptoms of panic attacks. (See Exhibit G) I have also been seen in the E.R. for chest pain since ALIEN departure (See Exhibit H) My chest pain was brought on in large part due to great stress. I have high anxiety levels that I am doing my best to maintain without medication and with monthly therapy sessions (See Exhibit I) If I cannot eliminate the stress (ie: have my husband back), these attacks will continue and worsen, leading to depression which at extreme levels could lead to suicide. (See Exhibit J)
THE HOLMES-RAHE SOCIAL READJUSTMENT RATING SCALE
In 1967 Thomas H. Holmes, M.D. and Richard H. Rahe, M.D. published "The Social Readjustment Rating Scale" in the prestigious Journal of Psychosomatic Research. This scale measures vulnerability to medical illness as a result of stress. It is now famous and still widely used; its efficacy is well established. For instance, in December 2000 in "Educational and Psychological Measurement" Judith A. Scully, Henry Tosi and Kevin Banning re-evaluated the use of this instrument. The abstract of their article states:
"The authors conclude that, in sum, life change events remain useful predictors of stress related-symptom scores and that the SRRS is a robust instrument for identifying the potential for the occurrence of stress-related outcomes and is, therefore, a useful tool..."
The scale uses the weighting of Life Changes Units (LCU's) as a means of predicting vulnerability to medical illness. For instance, a marital separation would accrue 65 LCU's and an outstanding personal achievement would accrue 28 LCU's. In other words, significant life changes, positive and negative, are significant variables in the development of medical illness. It is not possible to predict exactly which illness might occur. However, degree of vulnerability can be predicted. Pre-existing conditions, (such as my previous bout with cervical dysplasia) are presumed to be highly vulnerable to exacerbation. The predictive ranges of the SRRS are:
LCU 0-150: No significant risk
LCU 150-199: 35% Chance of illness or injury in two year period
LCU 200-299: 51% Chance of illness or injury in two year period
LCU 300 +: 80% Chance of illness or injury in two year period
The scale was applied on the assumed basis that I was forced to move to Mexico. My score on this instrument was an astounding 858, with the following analysis, "This score indicates major life crisis and is highly predictive (80%) of serious physical illness within the next 2 years". On the other hand, if ALIEN were able to return to the U.S., thus eliminating the hardships/stress factors, the score would drop dramatically to 92 (no significant risk).
The Holmes-Rahe SRRS also demonstrates a very important fact widely recognized in the health sciences. Stress and other risk factors not only exist as independent influences, they interact dynamically. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I will be subjected to several factors whose interactions contribute exponentially to my experience of hardship. Each interacts with the other in a manner that heightens their mutual impact. Therefore, the totality of hardship factors exceeds measurement.
FAMILY TIES IN THE UNITED STATES
I was born and raised in the United States and my entire family lives nearby. I have absolutely no family in Mexico. I am very close to both of my parents and my brother and sister in law. My family is very important to me; being separated from them would be devastating. I love my family very much and have never gone more than a couple of months without seeing them. I have only one living grandparent now. She lives nearby in a nursing home where she is cared for due to her physical disabilities. My grandmother is paralyzed from the chest down on the left side of her body. My grandmother is a very strong willed woman born second generation Italian. She is now 79 years old. I love my grandmother dearly and go to see her as often as possible. She is a great source of inspiration to me and without her I would not be the woman I am today. The thought of moving so far away from her is inexplicable.
Should I move to Mexico I would not be able to afford plane tickets, averaging $500-$900, to visit my family and phone calls would be too expensive to make very often. This would also greatly add to the growing anxiety attacks I already experience, and is likely to trigger depression. (See Exhibit G)
Being separated from my full, close, and loving family will create great emotional distress and hardship to myself and to my family, all of whom are United States citizens. If ALIEN is not admitted back to the United States I will never be united with my family at the same time.
FINANCIAL HARDSHIP AND LACK OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY
I am currently employed as an admissions representative at the local hospital and part time as a legal secretary for a local law firm. I earn about $***x a month, which is barely enough to maintain two households, which is what I have done since ALIEN departure in December. I have one car payment that must be paid monthly and I also have a monthly payment that must be paid to the IRS. (See Exhibit K) I also have two student loans with the United States Department of Education that I am trying get paid. While ALIEN was here we were able to maintain a positive balance in our bank account and live comfortably.
If I were to move to Mexico, I would have to leave my job with absolutely no prospects to look forward to and continuing my education would no longer be an option. In the United States I have the opportunity to return to school and obtain a college education. I have the possibility of career enhancing education such as becoming a paralegal, possibly an attorney or a certified medical billing specialist. I would not have that opportunity in Mexico. Without ALIEN to assist in my support emotionally and financially I would be unable to return to school and therefore would not be promoted. In addition to that, this would shatter my chances of future employability in the United States once we are finally able to return. Since it would be impossible to maintain my insurance license and professional career in Mexico (due in major part to my inability to speak Spanish), my professional standing and career would be ruined.
The unemployment rate in Mexico is 3.3% plus underemployment of perhaps 25% with about 40% of the populations living below the poverty level, it is virtually impossible that I, an American, will be unable to secure any employment at all. The minimum wage is about 45 pesos a day, though many earn less and have no benefits. ALIEN has had great difficulty finding any permanent employment. Even with both of us working, it will mean certain poverty.
It would also mean that my credit rating would be destroyed. With both credit/debt totaled at about $******, I would be unable to maintain any payments. My current earnings allow me to pay my bills as well as provide money to my husband so that he may maintain a reasonable and secure standard of living. In Mexico, without my current salary to rely upon, not only would we be subjected to the extreme hardship of living in horrifically sub-standard conditions, but also we would have nothing to return to the United States except damaged credit and debt. However, with ALIEN in the United States he will be gainfully employed and without the burden of maintaining a second household, our combined income would allow us to quickly pay our debts, buy a home, and start a family; none of this will be possible if ALIEN is not here.
I ask you sincerely to take into consideration all these hardships and unbearable decisions that I face while separated from my husband. If ALIEN is denied permission to return to the United States, you will be placing me in an impossible dilemma, asking me to face risking my life and the lives, well-being and very existence of our future children-future citizens of the United States by moving to Mexico to reunite with my husband in fulfillment of our sacred, profound marital bond. I would also be forsaking my relationship with my family and my secure employment and career opportunities.
I need ALIEN . The hardships I would face if I had to live without him, or if I had to live without my family, would be indescribable. I cannot make the decision to leave one behind to go with the other. I depend on ALIEN very much. I would truly be lost without him. He is a great man. He is dedicated to his family and generous to everyone.
It would be impossible for me to live in Mexico. It is unlikely that I would have health insurance in Mexico to cover my PCOS, anxiety, future pregnancies and any other illnesses that might occur. The distinct possibility that my life would be in jeopardy is terrifying. Therefore it is imperative that ALIEN be allowed to return to the United States with me as soon as possible.
I need to have my husband here with me in the United States. I love my country and am a very proud American citizen. I would not believe that my own country would keep my separated from my husband, when the government has fully recognized our marriage in approving our I-130 petition. Doing so would shatter the confidence I have in my own government to protect me, as keeping me separated from my husband would destroy me.
Please allow ALIEN to come home to me so that we may once again live together as husband and wife. Please give us the opportunity to live the American Dream to buy a home, to start a business together, to raise a family - in the safety and security of the great United States of America that so many Americans take for granted every day.
For our evidence I tabbed each one accordingly it included:
North Carolina Property and Liability License
Annual Requirements to maintain North Carolina Property and Liability License
US Consulate General Travel Warning for Mexico
PCOS Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Medical Records from my 3 ob/gyn's, both hospitals, and fertility specialist
Mexico World Factbook
Medical Records from hospital
Letter from Therapist
Anxiety and Depression
IRS Statement and car loan statement
INCLUDED, LETTER FROM USC CHILD
Approved HSL Courtesy of Member Maripoza4 who was approved May 12, 2007
This is my letter, I typed it and signed the bottom:
June 30, 2006
Re: Mr. ***
Dear Immigration Officer:
I am writing this letter in regards to the I-601 petition that was filed for my husband
The purpose of this letter is to provide documentation of hardship to my family and myself. The absence of my spouse, Mr. *** has proved to be an extreme hardship for us as we not only miss and love him, we depend on him in every aspect of our lives. As his spouse I hope to prove, not only through this letter but also through documentation that is included that Mr. *** absence is affecting us emotionally, financially, physically and medically.
There are several interacting hardships:
I have two children from previous marriages who are U.S. citizens and there names are Child, D.O.B. X/XX/***X, age XX and Other Child, D.O.B X/XX/XX, age X. Both children have grown ever so attached to Mr. ***. Our son Child has a very close relationship with Mr. ***. The children see Mr. *** as their real dad. This separation from Mr. *** has caused the children a lot of emotional and psychological problems. The children are always crying for their dad and have shut themselves out from any type of daily activities. If Mr. *** is not allowed to return to the U.S., Child and Child would be deprived of the only father they have known.
Mr. *** would miss crucial moments in both the physical and psychological development of Child and Child, including events that would aid in the formation of a relationship between them. Mr. *** has already missed our daughter's birthday. I could not imagine not having Mr. *** with us during all the holidays. Not having share in the responsibility of our children torments me every day. If Mr. *** is not allowed to return to the U.S., I would be raising the children as a single mother and would suffer tremendously. Like any mother, I want my children to have at least all of the choices and possibilities that I had growing up. I also want to be able to provide things which we did not have. Mr. *** and I deeply believe that they will not be able to accomplish this while living in Mexico. Mr. *** and I love each other deeply and want to provide our children with a strong and positive home. We want to give them the best education, the best medical care, the safest surroundings and the love and support of our family. For me, all of this is possible only while living in the U.S.
I have significant health problems such as Hypertension, anxiety and depression. I also have three discs in my back that are bulging and protruding. I have to take pain medicine on a daily basis. The back specialist wants to operate on my back since the discs are so bad. There are a lot of things that I can not do or pick up. Mr. *** is very needed to help me on a daily basis. My pain medicine makes me very sleepy. Mr. *** was the one taking care of the children and making sure that they took their baths, ate supper and got them ready for bed. I am now experiencing difficulties walking. The reason for this is because the sciatic nerve in my back is being pushed on by one of the disc's that are protruding and bulging. This causes numbness in my right leg.
I suffer from Hypertension. This has been aggravated by the denial of Visa for Mr. *** and has caused additional headaches, stress, anxiety and depression. If this situation continues the consequence will result in significant deterioration of health problems for me which would be life threatening. Blood pressure is known to vary with emotional and psychological states. Hypertension is also called the silent killer because it often has no symptoms and can cause a stroke which would lead to paralysis, speech problems and even death. For this I take Lotrel 5/10 once a day. Also, I take Wellbutrin XL 300mg daily and Lexapro 10 mg daily for the depression and anxiety. These medications help me cope with the depression and separation from my husband which has completely taken over my life and my ability to function. The separation from my husband has affected my health extremely. Due to the loss of Mr. *** income, I have been unable to afford mine or my son's medication.
My son Child who is XX yrs has been diagnosed with ADHD Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder. Child has to take Strattrera 40mg on a daily basis. This medicine would also help Child to pay attention while in school. If he is not able to take his medicine Child will not be able to succeed in school. Without Mr. *** here I will not be able to handle our son's illness on my own. Mr. *** would always help out when our son was being extremely Hyper. When there would be a situation with Child that I could not handle, Mr. *** would always know what to do to control the situation. Since Mr. *** has been gone it is extremely hard to handle our son on my own.
Our daughter Child age X, has Pulmonary Artery Stenosis. This is where the main artery in the heart has a waist in it. She gets monitored frequently by her heart specialist to make sure the artery is not getting smaller. If it happens to get smaller Child would need to under go surgery to open that valve back up. Since the absence of Mr. ***, I worry that the stress of being without her dad is too much for her heart.
Medical My Parents
My parents live with us in our home. My father has been diagnosed with Complete Renal Failure. He is under going dialysis three days a week for four and a half hours a day. This makes him very ill, weak and he sleeps most of the time. My father needs a kidney transplant. Mr. *** needs to be here with us because he needs to under go the testing for the kidney transplant for my father. I am not considered a candidate for the transplant because of all my illnesses. Without this transplant my dad will die. Mr. *** would always do all the things that my dad would need to be done. My dad can not use his left arm because that is where his fistula is. This is the area in his arm where they hook him up to do the dialysis. My dad has to be very careful in what he picks up or moves.
My mother is also disabled. She has had three strokes, the last one leaving her left side paralyzed and her memory is very poor. In addition to her last stroke, she has a blood clot lodge in her brain. At any time this clot could move into her brain and kill her. Her mobility is not good at all. She falls down a lot. Since I am not able to pick her up because of my back, Mr. *** would always go and pick her up off the floor. Mr. *** would always assist me with her memory loss. She needs a lot of assistance that not only I can provide but Mr. *** as well. Since I was not able to get the documentation of there sickness in time you can call, if you have any questions about my parents illnesses, Dr. XX @ ***-***-*** or Dr. XX. at ***-***-***. Mr. *** is not only needed by me and the children but also he is needed by my parents.
By leaving the U.S., I would be forced to terminate my employment and to sell my home. I do not have much equity in the home at this time. I would lose money being forced to sell our home. I would also be required to rent a storage unit for whatever I could not take with me, which would add an additional monthly expense that in a short period of time I would be unable to continue to pay. I would not be able to find employment in Mexico in the field that I am in. I am the Director of Patient Support for the company that I work for. And most of all I would not be paid the same salary that I am currently receiving now.
I have several loans that must be paid back. I have a mortgage on my home. I have a loan out on my vehicle, a consolidation loan to pay all the credit cards back and an additional credit card bill. Also, I have all the Dr bills that I have incurred that I am paying back.
I just recently established good credit. Without Mr. *** here in the U.S., I would be unable to pay these debts as we have been for the past four years, therefore would lead to ruining my credit that I have worked so hard to get. In addition, I would be unable to afford proper day care for our children and therefore would be unable to continue working and would be forced into the welfare system.
It is so extremely hard to explain the enormous impact this has caused me being without Mr. ***. We just purchase a home in November 2005; the payments are $***.XX a month. Without Mr. *** income I will not be able to make the payments. I would not be the only one without a home but also the kids and my disabled parents. It has been very difficult buying groceries these past few weeks and the light bill has been extremely high. Mr. *** is so needed here in the U.S.
Mr. *** has a secure position upon his return with X X X. X X X is lacking in production every day. Jobs have been postponed and or cancelled due to Mr. *** absence. This has caused a financial hardship on this company everyday, as they wait for Mr. *** return. It is imperative that Mr. *** be allowed to return to the U.S. not only for myself and family but for this company.
I know the Consulate reads letters form thousands of people on a daily basis, but please consider our case and grant us this pardon. There is no possible way I can make it on my own. It can not be done. I will have lost not only my husband, but everything we have worked so hard for, including our house, a place where my children call home and a safe neighborhood to grow up in. Without my husband, I lose not only a huge financial part of our household but a piece of my heart as well. I miss my husband painfully and am uncertain as well as frightened of my future as it is dependent upon the status of my husband. The enormous strain that this separation has and will continue to have constitutes a powerful hardship to me. Again, I respectfully request the waiver to be approved and Mr. *** to be allowed to be reunited with our family in the United States.
This is my son's letter. This letter was hand written by my son and I did not make any corrections, mailed as is:
June 30, 2006
My name is *** and Im XX yrs old. Mr. *** is my step dad. I know that Mr. *** wasn't suppose to be in the us but he did it for us. Hes like my real dad. I would choose him over my real dad. Mr. *** is always there when we needed him or when we were sick.
Mr. *** would take me to my Dr's appts and after wards he would take me to go and get my medicine. I have to take medicine every day. My medicine helps me to pay attenition and focus.
Now that Mr. *** is over there how is my mom going to get my medicine. She wont have the money and I wont be able to do things right and my school work will be bad. And im an A B student.
My family needs Mr. *** here more than ever. Now that hes gone my mom wont be able to pay the bills or buy our medicines or even the food.
I play baseball. Mr. *** would always take me to the ball field and practice with me. He would always go to the practices and games. At the practices you don't have to stay there but Mr. *** would till it was over. Now that Mr. *** is gone my mom wont be able to pay the bills.
My grandma and grandpa moved back home and they live with us. My grandpa is very very sick. He needs dialysis on Monday, Wensday and Fridays for 4 ½ hours a day. My grandpa cant help my mom around the house because he has that connector in his arem. He is always weak and he sleeps a lot.
Mr. *** was gonna go to San Antonio to do the testing to see if he could give him a kidney. Now since you wouldn't give his visa my grandpas chances are even worse.
My grandma is sick she had 3 strokes already and now her left side isn't working.
Mr. *** would always help my grandma get up when she falls down. And she falls a lot. My mom cant do it cause her back is all jacked up.
Me and my family need Mr. *** here for lots of thing and reasons. So please take this letter seresly and don't just throw it away.
Please let our dad Mr. *** come back home now. We cant be without him.
This is my daughter's letter. This letter was hand written by her and I did not make any corrections, mailed as is:
June 30, 2006
My name is USC Child. I am X yrs old.
I love Mr. *** he is my daddy and he plays with me.
Plese let my daddy come home.
APPROVED, MEXICO, CON'T
My HSL was approved on May 18th through the pilot program.
My letter was 11 pages long and I had almost 3 inches of evidence. In my packet I included a table of contents, I covered each appendix with a blue cover sheet, I two hole punched the top of each sheet and I attached the whole thing together with a large metal clip. I tried to have evidence for every single thing I said. Sometimes I included more than one evidence for a statement of hardship (this way if they didn't like one source, there was another ) I made sure I included personal items (letter from doctor, personal medical records, letter from friends, etc.) as well as non-personal items (info. from the NIH about my conditions, etc.). I also bolded the important points, but my formatting disappeared when I pasted my letter here.
Good Luck! I hope this helps.
May 02, 2007
U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services
American Consulate General
Ciudad Juarez, Chih., Mexico
PO Box 9896
El Paso, Texas 79905-9896
Re: Case No. ******X
Application for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability (I-601)
Claim of Extreme Hardship on the U.S. Citizen Spouse
I, USC, declare under the penalty of perjury, under the laws of the United States, that the following is true and correct:
I, USC, a U.S. citizen, in support of an I-601 Waiver of Grounds of Excludability on behalf of my husband, Alien, submit this personal statement of extreme and unusual hardship. I have many overlapping hardships in the following areas: health, education, training, employment, financial and personal considerations, as well as special factors.
I. Family Background
I met Alien in October of 2000. We began dating shortly thereafter and we were married on February x, ***x (Appendix 1). We have been inseparable since we met almost 7 years ago. Alien is my best friend and my favorite person in the world. He has had such a positive impact on my life and my character; I can honestly say that I would not be the person I am today if it were not for him. He is an amazing husband in so many ways. I am so happy to be sharing my life with him, I do not even like spending time away from him, I can not even imagine living apart from him. At the same time I can not live in Mexico without experiencing extreme and unusual hardship.
1. I suffer from a chronic autoimmune disorder, guttate psoriasis (Appendix 2-5). The sores are red, itchy, painful and disfiguring (Appendix 6). If not treated, the disorder will continue to spread to my face and my immune system will turn to attack my joints producing a disabling condition known as psoriatic arthritis. This disease, if left untreated, can result in staff infections and hospitalization (Appendix 7). I know very well how quickly this disease can spread. While I was in graduate school (2004-2006) I was unable to see a doctor because I did not have medical insurance. I continued with the UV treatments, but without the care of a doctor and the medicine, the disease spread. I now have a severe case. There is no cure for psoriasis and I will need treatment for the rest of my life. Dr. X stated "It is important for USC's health and quality of life that she receives continued treatment for her psoriasis. It is imperative that she be carefully monitored for the adverse affects her treatment can have on her health. To this end, it is necessary that she have continued and frequent access to a healthcare professional trained to treat this disease" (Appendix eight).
I can prevent the spread of my psoriasis through the use of medical interventions; UV treatments and corticosteroids. The administration of UV treatments increases my risk of developing cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute "women who use tanning beds more than once a month are 55 percent more likely to develop malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer" (Appendix 9). I tan (UV treatment) several times a week (Appendix 10). I must have access to a physician if I see any indication that I am developing cancer. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration "malignant melanoma, now with a suspected link to UVA exposure, is often fatal, if not detected early" (Appendix 11). The Clobetasol Propionate is applied two times a day. This involves applying the cream to the many lesions that cover my body and Alien helps me, which greatly reduces the time necessary to apply it. Without Alien here in the U.S. to help me, I will find it impossible to be compliant with this medical treatment. The medicine has a number of side effects that must be monitored by a physician (See Appendix 5).
A move to Mexico or my staying in the U.S. without Alien will greatly increase my stress (Appendix 12). Stress is related to a variety of health problems (Appendix 13). Psoriasis is exacerbated by stress, heat, and skin irritation. I have already experienced an agitation in my symptoms related to this immigration proceeding, the psoriasis has spread to my scalp and my doctor recently put me on additional medication (Appendix 5). Washing clothing and dishes by hand, as is common in Mexico, would also exacerbate the disease. Even bathing may irritate my skin, due to the low quality of the water.
My husband is unlikely to be able to find a job in Mexico that provides an adequate income (see section VI) and we will be unable to afford medical treatment. For example, Cobetosal Propionate would cost approximately 17.5% of our income in Mexico (Appendix 14). I have been unable to locate a place in Alien's home town to receive my UV treatments. However a physician in Pueblo, Mexico told my husband that the treatments cost MX$*** and are done twice a week, which would be 100% of our monthly income (Appendix 15). I will be forced, for the sake of my marriage, to forgo further medical treatment of my chronic autoimmune disorder.
2. I have developed severe joint pain in my lower back and hips. My physician, Dr. Z is conducting lab work to determine the best course of treatment for this pain. She has put me on Meloxicam, which is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (See Appendix 16). The cause of my joint pain has yet to be determined and Dr. Z's experience and knowledge gives a chance for effective treatment.
I have been diagnosed with Depression (Appendix 17). Although it can be expected that the average person enmeshed in an immigration case of this nature would experience emotional difficulties, my psychological hardships have proven themselves to be particularly severe and have the potential of causing medical illness, hospitalization, or even death. Thus, my psychological hardships warrant particularly in depth examination. My doctor put me on Wellbutrin, an anti-depressant medication. According to the information that the pharmacy provided with the medication "Children, adolescents, and adults who take this medicine should be monitored daily for any worsening of their condition, thoughts of hurting themselves...especially during the first few months after starting this medicine" (Appendix 18). I need my husband with me to monitor my condition.
This is not the first time I have been diagnosed with a mood disorder:
-I was first diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood just before my 14th birthday (Appendix 19,).
-I was diagnosed with Depression with suicidal ideation at the age of 20. Dr. B, my physician at the time, stated that I could experience a recurrence of my symptoms at stressful times in my life. Her advice is in line with what research has shown (Appendix 20, p.2). Over the next few years (until 2002) I was alternately treated with Zoloft and Prozac, in an effort to control my symptoms (Appendix 21).
-Between May 2003 and March 2004, I was treated by Dr T., again for depression (and panic disorder). Over the course of treatment, I was given Xanax, Lexapro, and Wellbutrin (Appendix 4).
As I have been depression free for 3 years, it is likely that this recurrence of my illness is due to the stress of this immigration proceeding. When I first found out about the potential ten-year ban, I was devastated. I lost a lot of weight. The people in my life were extremely worried about me (Appendix 22). Accompanying the current depression are anorexic symptoms and suicidal ideation. I sometimes wish I could be dead rather than face the chance of going through my life without my husband or family. I have no energy and can't concentrate. I no longer get any pleasure from teaching. I have constant stomach pain and diarrhea. I cry several times a day. Depression also makes me unable to use my training, as I can not provide therapy to others when I am in a severely depressive state (see section IV. A).
Should this waiver be denied, my depression will likely worsen to a grave degree and become chronic. Dr. W stated "It is quite possible that if she ends up having to make this difficult choice her depression could turn into a chronic condition with more serious negative implications for her long term psychological adjustment" (Appendix 23). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders, Forth Edition, Text Revision: "Motivations for suicide may include a desire to give up in the face of perceived insurmountable obstacles or an intense wish to end an excruciatingly painful emotional state that is perceived by the person to be without end" (Appendix 24). If this waiver is denied, I may be at risk for suicide (appendix 20). This terrifies me. This risk is compounded by the fact that we would be unable to afford my medication in Mexico. Wellbutrin would cost about 47.5% of our income (Appendix 25). This is impossible, and I would have to quit taking my medication. If the waiver is denied, I would likely develop chronic Depression and yet be unable to afford the medical care I need.
C. Potential for Inherited Illnesses
My mother, suffers from migraine headaches, fibroids of the breast and uterus, ovarian cysts, and cervical dysplasia. I may be at genetic risk of developing all of these. She is also currently being treated for high blood pressure with the drug Lisinopril (Appendix 26). According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), hypertension risk is increased by long-lasting stress and a family history of high blood pressure (Appendix 27, p. 3&4). Due to my mother's recent diagnosis and the long-lasting stress of this immigration proceeding, I am at risk for developing hypertension. Hypertension is called the silent killer and, according to the NIH, if left untreated, can lead to heart and kidney failure, stroke, and death.
D. Health Insurance
My current job is contractual in nature and does not provide benefits. The medical care I have been receiving in the last few months has come out of our savings account (Appendix 5, 16, 18), which is quickly depleting. I will not be able to continue this for long and so I desperately need insurance. Unfortunately, with my training only partially completed, I am unable to acquire a job that provides benefits. Once my training is finished, such a job will be easy to find. (See section IV). I desperately need Alien in the U.S. so that he can provide me with insurance through his work while I am finishing my training.
I intend to pursue a doctoral level degree as this is considered the terminal degree in my field (Appendix 28), and am actively preparing myself for this endeavor. I submitted 8 applications prior to my graduation with my Bachelors Degree (Appendix 29). Unfortunately, I was not admitted to a program that year. I decided to obtain a Masters degree followed by practical experience before re-applying (Appendix 30). Admission into Clinical Psychology programs is competitive, only xx% of applicants are accepted each year (Appendix 31). Right now, I am in a good position to obtain acceptance. I gained invaluable experience during my graduate training and I'm currently gaining more experience that makes me competitive (Appendix 32). Should Alien be granted this waiver, I plan to apply for admission into doctoral programs once I finish my licensing.
Should I be forced to wait 10-years before applying for admission, my chances of being accepted into a doctoral program are nil. John Smith, Ph.D. stated "Not only would her (USC's) training obtained at X State University be of no use to her while she was gone, but a ten-year hiatus in training and practice would effectively invalidate her education, as it would be essentially antiquated. In brief, if she were to leave for this period, she would not be able to use her training while gone and would return with an outdated and, for all intents and purposes, worthless degree" (Appendix 33). Even if I could miraculously manage to be accepted into a program after ten years, I would probably be forced to repeat my Masters degree.
Staying in the U.S. to pursue my Ph.D. without Alien is not an option. I could not afford the costly application process or the tuition (Appendix 34). I could not work to pay our bills and study at the same time. This dream will not be possible without Alien's emotional and financial support.
I would also be prevented from pursuing a Ph.D. in Mexico because my Spanish is inadequate, learning the language at a level that would enable me to study at this intensity is impossible, and I would not be able to afford the fees. In addition, the psychological degrees offered in Mexico would be useless in the USA. In order to ensure my future employability, it is important that I obtain a degree from an institution that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). There is not a single APA accredited program in Mexico (Appendix 35). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only X percent of the population obtains a Doctoral degree (Appendix 36). Should my husband be denied this waiver, I will be in the unusual situation of being unable to pursue this high level of education. I will forever loose my chance to pursue a doctoral level degree.
I have spent over six years studying and my training is not complete until I obtain my licenses to practice, the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and the Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA). Both licenses require that I receive annual continuing education credits and these will not be available to me in Mexico. By not completing the required education credits, I will lose my credentials. The cost of these CEUs range from $*** for 1 day to $***X for a 4 day workshop (Appendix 34). I could not afford the fees on what my husband is likely to earn in Mexico.
A. Licensed Professional Counselor
In order to provide therapy in the state of Texas, I must become a LPC (Appendix 37). Licensing for therapists is so specialized that I cannot even use my license in another state, much less another country! The license requires costly weekly supervision (Appendix 34). I cannot afford this on my current wage and I need Alien's additional income to be able to afford it. If my husband is not permitted to immigrate to the U.S., I will be unable to obtain this license, and therefore prevented from conducting therapy in the U.S. and increasing my income.
Additionally, due to my own psychological state (see section IIB), I have decided to refrain from providing therapy until Alien's immigration situation is resolved. This is in compliance with the American Psychological Association's ethical guidelines for Psychologists (Appendix 38). I anticipate that should Alien be permitted to remain in the U.S., I will experience an improvement in my depression. At that time I will be psychologically capable of utilizing my training and financially capable of paying the required supervision.
B. Licensed Psychological Associate
In order to conduct testing, I must become a LPA (Appendix 39). My training in assessment would be useless in Mexico. John Smith, Ph.D. wrote "There is no foreseeable situation in which Ms. USC would be able to use her training in intellectual assessment in Mexico" (Appendix 33) and Peter Jones, Ph.D. wrote "She cannot simply generalize her training and apply her knowledge to the Mexican population; as a result, she would be unable to practice her chosen profession if she is in Mexico. Her years of training here would have been largely for naught" (Appendix 40). These tests are specific for use in the U.S. Even if I could speak Spanish, I am not trained in Mexican psychological tests.
I am unable to obtain either license without my husband's financial support. Since, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than X percent of the U.S. population obtains a Master's degree (See Appendix 36), my husband's denial and my subsequent inability to utilize my degree necessarily constitutes an extreme and unusual hardship.
I am currently employed as an adjunct instructor (Appendix 41). This work is further building my resume to facilitate my acceptance into a Ph.D. program. This work is contractual in nature, and I can not be assured of a regular income. In fact, I taught my last class on May 10th 2007 and future contracts have not yet been signed. As of right now, I do not have any more work lined up. This position is not tenured and is not eligible for benefits. In order to obtain such a position I must have a Ph.D.
Without a Ph.D., I will find it impossible to obtain a fulltime position in a university, which would provide job security, benefits, and retirement in the form of an eventual tenured position (Appendix 42). As I have already shown in section III, if Alien is required to remain in Mexico for 10 years, I will never obtain my Ph.D. If my husband is permitted to return to the U.S. and once I have my Ph.D. I can expect to earn about $XX,*** a year starting salary at a university. This is more than double what I am currently earning.
If Alien is not permitted to return to the U.S. I would also be prevented from practicing therapy here. Almost without exception, the jobs for therapists require either the LPC or the LPA license (Appendix 43).
I require a professional visa to work in my chosen profession in Mexico. I would be prevented from teaching at the university level because I lack the language ability to be able to present complex material at this high level. Teaching requires an ability to read textbooks and other research materials, present what is important, answer questions, grade papers, and communicate with other faculty. All of this is impossible without an intimidate knowledge of the language. In order to provide therapy in Mexico, I would have to meet many requirements. I would have to obtain a professional visa, a "cedula profesional", and receive permission to practice the profession of psychology in Mexico (Appendix 44).
1. Professional Visa This requires (among other things) a) that I write a letter in Spanish explaining the reasons I desire to immigrate to Mexico, and b) a letter from my prospective employer. It is highly unlikely that I will be able to find a job for an English speaking psychologist in Mexico, according to a study by Olga Bustos the job market is saturated (Appendix 45, p.4).
2. "Cedula Profesional" To obtain this at the masters level, I would need to (among other things) a) first obtain my "Cedula professional de licenciatura", b) take a professional examination and c) show proof of where I am living. I will not be able to pass a professional examination in Spanish.
3. Permission to practice Mayra Gonza*** Morales from the Sociedad Mexicana de Psicologia said that in order to receive permission to practice the profession of Psychology in Mexico I would have to first obtain the "Cedula Profesional", then I would have to submit documentation of my degree, translated into Spanish, for review by a well known faculty member in Psychology. If this individual finds my education lacking in some area, he/she will recommend that I take courses at an accredited institution in Mexico. This would necessitate my taking classes in Spanish, which I will undoubtedly be unable to pass. Before I can be given permission, they will verify my immigration status, which I have already shown that I will be unable to obtain due to my inability to find a job.
These requirements are confusing and time consuming. It is impossible for me to meet the requirements to practice in Mexico. I cannot write a letter, obtain employment, pass professional exams, or take courses in Spanish.
If Alien is not permitted to return to the U.S., I will be unable to practice therapy in either country. My training will be wasted and this door of employment will remain forever closed to me. As a woman who has spent her entire life preparing for a fulfilling career, this will be extremely devastating and unbearable. However, should my husband be allowed to return, I can expect to double my current salary once I have my LPC. Overall employment of psychologists is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations in the U.S. (Appendix 46).
VI. FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS
I am currently in serious debt (Appendix 47). I have $X,*** in credit card debt (Appendix 48) which will increase after the trip to Ciudad Juarez, $XX,*** in a car loan, and $XX,*** in student loans (Appendix 49).
Our income will drop dramatically if we are forced to live in Mexico. Mexico has an unemployment rate of 3.6% and an underemployment rate of 25% which causes 40% of its population to live below the poverty level (Appendix 50). I would be unable to work due to Mexico's overall economic situation, my inability to speak the language, or secure a license to practice or immigrate. Alien will be unlikely to find a job that can adequately support us in Mexico; he was unable to graduate from high school due to the extreme poverty his family faced and has never worked in Mexico as an adult. The wage Alien could earn in his hometown of *** is approximately $*** a month (Appendix 51). My standard of living would drop significantly, I would be unable to fulfill my financial obligations here in the U.S., which include federal financial aid, and I would be faced with certain poverty. If I am forced to move to Mexico, I may have to file bankruptcy. This will do much more than ruin my credit rating. My father has cosigned with me on two loans (see Appendix 52). If I am forced to live in Mexico with my husband making only $*** a month, I will be unable to make even the minimum monthly payments. This places me in an impossible situation. By moving to Mexico to be with my husband to fulfill my wedding vows, I am placing my father in the difficult situation of being obligated to pay my debts. This would be humiliating and would negatively impact my sense of financial responsibility and strain my relationship with my parents, causing them an extreme hardship.
My student loans come off of deferment next month and this will increase my monthly bills by $*** (Appendix 49). If I were to remain in the U.S. without my husband, I will be unable to pay our debts on my current salary of $***X a month, and I will be unable to pay our debts if we move to Mexico because I will not be able to work (Appendix 53). Without Alien here in the U.S., gainfully employed, I have no hope of increasing my salary (sections III and IV).
VII. PERSONAL CONSIDERATIONS
A. Family Ties in the United States
I do not have family in Mexico. I do not have friends in Mexico. I have never met my husband's family. I would be prevented from making social connections due to the language barrier. All the family I have are in the United States. All the friends I have are in the United States.
Alien and I are exceedingly close to my parents (Appendix 54). We currently live in a recreational vehicle on their property. My parents are less than a 10 second walk away. We lost my sister in 2003 (Appendix 55). As such, I am not only my parent's closest relative, I am their only child. It would devastate them if Alien and I were to live in Mexico (Appendix 56).
While we have frequent telephone and e-mail contact with our extended family, they live in other parts of the country. Therefore, Alien and I are the only people available to aid my parents as they age, face health issues, or need repairs on their house (Appendix 57). Recently my mother was diagnosed with hypertension (see section IIC), I help her remember to take her medication, understand and monitor the side effects, as well as encourage her by accompanying her on walks. Another example, my mother was bitten by a bat and had to undergo a series of shots (Appendix 58). The doctors would not let her drive herself to and from the hospital, and so I drove her, as my father has a very difficult time getting off of work. My parents also had a lot of damage from a tornado. We are in the process of cleaning up (Appendix 59). Our dear friends from bible study and church are elderly and are not able to help. If Alien is not granted this waiver, my parents will have to complete this massive clean up (and any future event) on their own. I can not bear the thought of not being able to help my parents, now and as they continue to age and become ill. It is my duty as a Christian and as an only child to aid my parents in any way possible. The grief and guilt I will experience at being prevented from fulfilling my duty to care for my parents is immense.
I would be prevented from having sufficient contact with my parents. According to www.mexicana.com, a round trip plane ticket to Somewhere from Somewhereelse is approximately MX$7,800 (Appendix 60). This is almost three month's wage. I would also be unable to afford the costly international phone calls.
In addition, although my mother-in-law is alive, she is in poor physical health and lives in an impoverished condition. Her house has no doors on the bathroom, no running water, no air conditioning, and unpredictable electricity. She is not in a position to help us. I have never met Alien's mother. Alien has not been in Mexico for over 7 years and is not close to his mother. We can not expect any financial or emotional aid from his family in Mexico. We would be alone and without the support we are accustomed to in the United States.
B. Community Ties in the United States.
My family and I are very active in the rescue of stray or unwanted dogs and cats (Appendix 61). We are currently responsible for 13 dogs and 4 cats. If I am forced to live in Mexico I would be unable to contribute to their care. This would make me feel guilty and fill me with anguish. I wish to see them all live a happy life and don't want this to be a burden to my parents.
Alien and I attend the Somewhere KOA Bible Study held every Wednesday night. This is led by my father. We also attend *** Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod on a regular basis. At both locations, we have found warm, exceptional people who would do anything to help their fellow believers. Alien and I feel extremely accepted and supported; it would be devastating to me to have to leave these individuals (Appendix 62).
C. Professional Ties in the United States
I am a member of a number of professional organizations in the United States (Appendix 63). I would be prevented from making similar professional ties in Mexico (see section V.B and VIII.A). I have developed many professional relationships with other individuals in my field. These relationships take time to build and colleagues are a necessary part of my profession. For example, Martha Stewart and I are actively working on publishing an article together (Appendix 22).
Alien and I have a great desire for children. We wish for his immigration status to be cleared up before having children to prevent them having to spend time without one parent present. I desire to raise my children close to my parents.
If we were to wait to have children until after the 10-year ban, I would be at least 38 years old. I would suffer a decline in fertility and our children would be at a high risk for birth defects (Appendix 64). I am certain that many people in this situation desire children, but our situation is unique because as I am an only child, it is extremely important to my family that I have children (Appendix 65). If I am forced to wait, and become infertile, my parents will have to suffer the additional sorrow associated with not having grandchildren. My mother, said "I would also greatly enjoy being part of my grandchildren's everyday lives...so much of my life has not been ideal, please don't make this dream also die unfulfilled" (Appendix 57).
If we were to have our children in Mexico they would be racial, national, and religious minorities. This would cause them to be at great risk for peer harassment and even violent crime. As terrified as I am for myself in Mexico, I would be more so for my children. This will have an immeasurable impact on my wellbeing.
I love the United States of America and was born a citizen of this country. I do not want to live in any other country in the world. My family immigrated to the United States from Europe between three and four generations ago. My grandfather served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. My father served in the Air Force for 24 years, through the Cold War and Desert Storm (Appendix 66). As a child who grew up on military bases and followed my father from assignment to assignment, I developed a great love and respect for my country. I am completely immersed in the American culture and way of life, I know no other. It would be devastating to have to live in another country.
VIII. SPECIAL FACTORS
A. Lack o f Language Skills
I do not speak Spanish fluently. This would cause extreme hardship. I would be unable to find employment or make meaningful social connections. The isolation I would experience would be unbearable.
B. Gravely Dangerous Living Conditions in Mexico
I was born in the United States and have never lived in Mexico or even visited it overnight. I am not of Hispanic heritage and am Caucasian. I have light skin, light brown hair, and green eyes (Appendix 67) that would make it very obvious to people in Mexico that I am a foreigner. In addition, my inability to carry on a conversation in Spanish would necessitate my conversing with Alien in English. Both my appearance and my lack of language skills would make it easy for people to single me out for victimization or discrimination.
Mexico has serious problems with drug and gang related violence, kidnappings, police corruption and abuse, government corruption, discrimination based on religion, sexual violence against women and human trafficking (Appendix 68). Mexico is ranked number two in the world in the number of kidnappings that take place, many of which are against American Citizens. It is ranked third in the world for robberies and fourth for assaults. It is ranked fifth in the world for murders (Appendix 69). It has been suggested that United States Citizens avoid using public transportation, open access ATMs and free highways (Appendix 70, p.4-5). As I have already shown in section VI, we will be forced to live in an impoverished situation. I will be unable to afford to follow the State Department's recommendations. Mexico is a dangerous place to live. I am unaccustomed to having to navigate such a society. It is unlikely that I could do so with success and this would result in significant harm or possibly death to me and my future children. The constant stress of having to be hyper vigilant and worrying about my safety will have an inexplicably negative impact on my health (see section IIA1 and IIB). I am terrified of the possibility of living in Mexico.
I was raised in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) (Appendix 71). I consider my relationship with God to be the most important thing in my life. 88% of the Mexican population claims Roman Catholicism as their religion. Protestants make up a small 6% (Appendix 72). In the United States I have access to numerous LCMS churches. There are 12 such churches in Somewhere. In contrast, I have been unable to locate a single LCMS church in the state of Somewhere Else, Mexico (Appendix 73). Even if I were able to locate an English service at a Catholic church, I would be unable to attend. Roman Catholicism's beliefs differ greatly from my own (Appendix 74). According to the U.S. Department of State and other sources, discrimination and violence against Protestants occurs in Mexico (Appendix 75). Not only would I be forced to forgo attending church, which would be detrimental to my spiritual well being, but I would be at risk for discrimination and violence.
IX. CHARACTER STATEMENT
Alien is a good man. I have seen him hold an umbrella over the head of an elderly stranger in a gas station so that the gentleman would not get wet. I have watched him crawl under a stranger's car in the Wal-Mart parking lot to help the individual retrieve a bottle of Sprite that had rolled away (Appendix 22, 34, 56, 57 & 62).
Alien is very contrite and sincerely regrets the circumstances by which he came to this country seven years ago (Appendix 76). His current immigration status causes my husband a lot of pain and embarrassment and negatively affects his self-esteem. Alien wishes more than anything that he could undo the one big mistake of his life. The 18-year-old who came to this country in a disgraceful manner has been replaced by a helpful, hardworking, and honest man. In our desire to obey the laws of this country to the fullest extent possible, Alien quit his job as soon as I was employed. While this has created financial strain, we love this country enough to make this sacrifice.
Alien loves the United States and plans to become a citizen as soon as he is able. In fact, he has already downloaded study materials in order to begin his studying early! He has spent practically his entire adult life here and has never been back to Mexico. The USA is his home now. Should Alien receive his permanent residency, my husband plans to obtain his GED in order to pursue a bachelors degree in business. He wants to open a construction company and contribute to our great society by stimulating the economy and providing employment opportunities in a Christian environment. In addition, Alien will have no trouble finding employment should this waiver be granted. He is highly skilled at EIFS and stucco application. He has received excellent recommendations from his former employers (Appendix 77) as well as repeated invitations to return to work. Should Alien be allowed to return to the U.S., there is no doubt that our financial future will be secure.
My husband is my best friend and I love him with all my heart. Since we met almost 7 years ago he has been my constant companion through good times and comfort in difficult times. We have never been apart for more than a few days. Even the thought of the time we may be separated during the review of this waiver is painful and anxiety provoking.
I cannot live in Mexico without suffering extreme and unusual hardship. If Alien is not allowed to return to the United States, my entire life will be impacted. I will suffer a decline in my physical and mental health, my education will be interrupted, I will suffer a loss of employment and career, I will have a severe decline in my standard of living, I will be separated from all my family and friends, loosing community and professional ties. I will be socially isolated, unemployed, and constantly terrified. I will be in physical danger and will be unable to worship as I desire. These factors would make it impossible for me to move to Mexico without severe and unusual hardship. At the same time, my profound attachment to Alien and my belief in the sanctity of marriage prevents my remaining in the United States without him. I am faced with an impossible dilemma.
In light of the extreme and unusual hardships that I would have to endure as well as the fact that Alien and I have a real marriage that is based on mutual love and common goals, I respectfully request that you waive the 10-year ban so that we can pursue our lives together in the USA. If he is allowed to come back to the United States, our country will have gained a responsible, hard working, tax paying, and law abiding individual. He will appreciate the freedom and opportunities that have been given him and we will spend the rest of our lives respecting the incredible gifts we have been so blessed to receive.
I sincerely thank you for your consideration.
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