DEAR MEXICAN: I'm not Mexican, but my son-in-law is. He is intelligent, bright, enthusiastic and pleasant to spend time with. He came here illegally with his aunts at the age of 18. He and my daughter are married, have a 3.5-year-old son, and have gone through the entire process of filing papers and paying fees so he could enter the country legally. Last week, at the instruction of la migra, he went to Juarez, Mexico, to apply for his visa. He had his physical after waiting in line for nine hours. Then, he stood in line for his 9:45 a.m. appointment from 7 a.m. until the consulate closed at 4 p.m. He was told to come back tomorrow. He showed up at 6 the next morning and was finally granted his interview.
One question that is asked in the interview is: "Have you ever used drugs?" Well, being the honest person he is and not ever wanting to be accused of lying, he answered truthfully: "Yes, I tried some with a friend about six months ago."
It is from this experience that I have learned our own U.S. Government doesn't care about honest people; it just wants to appear "drug-free." He was told he was banned from the U.S. and to reapply in two and a half years! My daughter is beside herself with grief. She cannot afford to pay for child care without the help of her husband, so she will be forced to quit her job. My grandson believes his daddy doesn't love him anymore or he would come home. And my son-in-law has learned this lesson: If you want to enter the U.S. legally, don't admit to having done anything wrong—period.
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My daughter and grandson are now in mental-health counseling, but their plan is to move to Tijuana, where a family member owns a home they can live in. My daughter will commute to San Diego if she can find work. And for the next five years, while they go through the entire process over again, I will miss watching my sweet little grandson grow up. I will miss having my only daughter and best friend with me, and I will miss having my loving son-in-law here, where he belongs, with his family.
I've written to my senators asking for intervention, and I'm going to get an appointment to see an immigration lawyer, but I'm not terribly confident. Do you hold out any hope for them at all?
La Suegra Asustada
DEAR SCARED MOTHER-IN-LAW: Ever hear that canard by Know Nothings that Mexicans don't want to enter el Norte the "right" way? Your yerno is Exhibit Número One on why we don't. Throw in the stupidity of our drug war, and coming into this country legally is unjustly harder than trying to get your tía to write her tamale secrets down in recipe form. Honestly, the best thing for your son-in-law is to cross over illegally, as undocumented folks nowadays seem to have more protection than those who try to do it the right way—and while I have no problem with that whatsoever, how fucked up is it that we've come to this? Wait, that came off VERY conservative, so let me save my Aztlanista reputation . . . ¡A LA CHINGADA CON MURRIETA!