Deportation, Friendships and What Not To Do


I participate in a private online support group for people with a loved one affected by U.S. immigration policy.

Today in the group, a member brought up a good point – how friends in our lives are unintentionally hurtful.

This got me thinking about how many us affected by immigration policies often have friends who either don’t know what to say/do, or hurt us when they think that they’re being supportive.

In that spirit, I wanted to share some of my suggestions for what to do/what to say when a friend in your life has a deported partner or spouse. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I’m choosing to focus on U.S. citizens affected by deportation, because that’s what I can speak to. Please feel free to post other suggestions in the comments below – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

1. If the deportation is recent, show up physically in any way that you can. Offer to take care of our kids. We need to do things like phonecalls to find out information about our loved one’s detention or deportation. Make sure that we’re eating and hydrated. If you’re a coworker and can take our shifts, offer to do that and/or coordinate coverage with other coworkers. Don’t clog up our phone line calling us incessantly. We need the line open. We often need financial support. Give to us if you can. Don’t wait for us to say something – we may be too shy or ashamed to ask.

2. When a deportation is recent, this is not the moment for you to express any doubts or negative views that you may have about our partner/spouse. Keep those thoughts to yourself.

3. We do not need to hear your feelings right then about how messed up the U.S. immigration system is. The cold and empty spot next to us in our beds says it all.

4. Learn the name of the country where our partner/spouse is from. Look it up on a map. If you can, find the city or town where they were born. Don’t dismiss it as a, “scary, dirty, third-world country.”

5. The decision as to whether or not to move with our partner/spouse to their country of origin is an extremely personal decision, and there’s no right or wrong answer. If we process verbally, let us talk it through. Just listen. If we process internally, don’t keep asking us what we’re going to do. Only give your opinion on the issue if you’re directly asked for it.

6. Don’t assume that our partner/spouse will definitely return to the United States without papers. This is also an extremely personal decision.

7. If we do decide to move, help us with the packing. Offer to take as much as of our stuff as you can for safekeeping. This can be extremely comforting to us during this very difficult moment of deciding what stays and what goes.

8. If we stay in the U.S., remember that our lives changed forever. Just because we may be going through the motions of our life as it once was, we are definitely not O.K. This does not get easier as the months go by. Check in with us about our mental, physical and spiritual health. Jokes like us being, “single and ready to mingle” aren’t appropriate.

9. If we move to the home country of our partner/spouse, don’t makes comments about being “envious” of things like the fact that we’ve lost weight, live in a tropical climate, don’t have access to steady electricity or a working phone line (“So good that you can unplug and get away from it all.”)

The weight loss is often because we’re experiencing poverty like we never lived through in the U.S. Our tropical climate location is because we chose to live with our loved one due to an immigration system in the U.S. that separates families, not because we wanted to take an extended vacation. Situations like not having access to steady electricity or a working phone line can break us on the wrong day.

Now, if we’ve lived with situations like the above long enough, and are ready to joke about it all, sit with our dark humor (especially when the lights go out.) Laugh along with us.

10. Whether we leave the U.S. or not, for the love of all that is holy, do not send us articles or videos about dangerous events in the home country of our partner/spouse. Do not write things like, “Thinking of you – I hope that you’re safe!” or “This is why I don’t want you to move there.”

And here’s a bonus tip – If our partner or spouse is deported, many of us go though a transformation about how we view the U.S. Many of us feel rage, betrayal, shock, embarrassment, sadness. This results in many of us deeply questioning the country that we were born and raised in. When we post things online or say things in person that question the policies of the U.S., do not rush to defend this country. That’s not our point.

And as someone with a husband who was deported from the U.S. twelve years ago this month, it doesn’t get easier over time. The struggles shift and change shape, but they never go away.

But hopefully, neither do our friendships.


87 thoughts on “Deportation, Friendships and What Not To Do

  1. Hello, my husband recently exited the U.S. on his own. He was in removal proceedings and has a master hearing on July 29, 2016 which I will be attending on his behalf. I will be showing proof that day about his departure and hopefully they will accept it. My husband was so stressed and fearful for that day that he decided to leave. He just doesn’t want to be treated like a criminal anymore. We spoke with a few attorneys and they suggested that leaving to mexico would make it easier for him to resolve his case. He’s entered the U.S. illegally twice and I just fear that will affect him. I just hope for the better. We have 2 children one 11 year old and 4 year old and they are greatly affected by his absence my 4 year old has nightmares and my 11 year old always seems sad it just breaks my heart.

  2. Wow reading all these stories really comforts me that I am not alone. My boyfriend went to jail when I was only 5 months pregnant with our son and months later got deported back to Mexico. Of course as any man wanting to be with his family he tried coming back and immigration got him. 1 week later and I haven’t heard from him and just know that he’s in Las Villas TX. My son will be 1 in June and still has not met his Daddy knowing how much his dad loves him and him and just wants to be able to hug him and kiss him for the first time. It’s definitely tough. You feel lost and feel that all your hopes and dreams are fading away. But giving up is not an option. Hoping that they can deport him soon so that my son and I can be able to go visit for an extended time. It may not be what we had planned for the future but sometimes things don’t go as planned and sometimes we have to make sacrifices for our loved ones. I will just give anything to see that moment were my son will meet his dad for the first time. That’s what’s been killing me on the inside every day.
    You ladies are very strong and i admire you guys. Fighting for a better future 😊🙏

    1. Hi Johanna, thank you for sharing part of your story. You are not alone. And the fight continues, until all families, including your own, receive justice and are reunited once again. Love, Giselle

  3. Hi ,my husband is from honduras we had very four healthy kids together we have bean together for almost 12 yrs in June 13 married 3 yrs legal in the court we tried to do his papers so much money… I would not know what to do if my hub and my BEST friend gets taking away,our kids wouldn’t have AMAZING DAD…WE NEED HELP TO KEEP HIM HERE SAVE…….PLEASE DO SOMETHING TO MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLE FROM OTHER COUNTRIES STAY HERE AS LONG AS THEY HAVEN’T KILLED ANY ONE OR DONE A BAD CRIME THERE IS GOOD ONES OUT THERE….

    1. Jennifer, thank you for sharing part of your story here. I personally know how devastating it is to try to raise the funds to get papers for your spouse. I don’t know what it’s going to take for the US to wake up and fight as a country to make it easier for people from other countries to come and stay here. Stay strong – you are not alone. Love, Giselle

  4. Hello, can you advise us what to do about immigration to US from Australia. We are older citizens and do not tick any of the boxes for green card and for me to be with my loved one forever. I am 69 and he is 63. He is an alaskan and dose not have the required paperwork like taxes, and dose not own a home. He owns a buisness self employed and has never charged much money for his hard work. He often has no income over winter. He also has an illness that came from his time in Vietnam, like dose not like crowds, institutions and tends to go into the mountains to survive. When I was with him the last two years in summertime, we lived in a bus, he often lived at the back of a truck. He moves around with his work. He is a rock mason who cuts and finds his own rocks. He dose not charge rates that are true to the times, like earns about $15,000 a year.
    while in Alaska,
    Randy saved my life two years ago and was the most amazing carer. I had a five year visa and only 2 years left for us B2 I think. it was so I could study and research for my art work. We cannot afford to get a lawyer, of do not have the finances for the high cost of Visas and medicals and flights and interviews which are more flights, from alaska and Tasmania where I live, we would be homeless of we had to pay this much money and he will not do it as it is too much for him to cope with. I also find all the rules overbearing. I was an orphan and have trouble with institutions as well. Can you help us? We do not tick the boxed do we? We will never be together again will we? I cry every day and just want to die all the time as I cannot find a way to be with the one man I LOVE!
    I own my home but in Tasmania it will not give me much if I sell it. Randy dose not like the hot her or the fact that all his tools are not her and I lost $200.00 when he stayed with me for 5 1/2 months on a 6 months visa, we just got poorer. so he went back on his own and now I have lost him due to the sadness and emotion we both have about being apart.
    I do not think I can cope now, as after 2 years with open heart surgery, I am alone with my thoughts and it is so confusing what to do, I am desperate to be with Randy again. I hug hid boots every day and do not know what to do.

    1. Sarah, thank you for reaching out to me. I’m not an immigration lawyer, so I’d prefer that you check out the “Recommended immigration lawyers” page on my site. Most of them should be able to do a free phone consultation. I wish you the best of luck. Love, Giselle

  5. I’m so glad this group/site is hubby is facing a big legal issue and if found guilty he will be deported we are always trying to think positive..we have 2children and he really is my other life would be in shambles without him especially since I had post party depression after my youngest was born and I fear I’ll loose it again without him..his trial is in April. we sit and spin and pray till then..always knowing our lives together may come crashing down

    1. Allison, thank you for posting here. Please be sure to check out the resources page and know that you are not alone. I hope that April brings the answer that you and your family so deeply need. Love, Giselle

  6. Excellent, I have been through all of the above with well meaning friends! It has been seven years for me and my family. It does not get any easier!

    1. TJ, thank you for your comment. I hear you about it not getting any easier, even as the years go by. What I found in my case was that not that it got easier over the years that my husband was deported, but it changed shape with my friends. Finding a community also helped a lot as well. Please know that you and your family are not alone. Love, Giselle

  7. Thank you for that. I find not many people understand this situation. It is awful. I met my husband in 2004 and we have four kids. Haven’t seen him since February. He misses us like crazy.

    1. April, the “missing like crazy” is something that I understand on a cellular level with my husband when we were living in two different countries as a result of his deportation. Please know that you’re not alone – and check out the resources page to see if you can connect with a community close to you. Love, Giselle

  8. Hello, I was so happy that there is a way that us woman can have a voice about our situations. My husband was deported with the hope that he was to return to the since has been 9yrs we have been in Mexico. I cross the border everyday with my children.. I wish the schools would be more accepting of children that there parents are deported..instead you have to have an address in the US even though I work and pay taxes.. there should be a law to help… stay strong… we do it for our families…

    1. Teo, thank you for post. As you know, I cannot provide any legal guidance, since I’m not an immigration lawyer. However, please free free to check out my resources page. Thank you and good luck. Sincerely, Giselle

  9. I know this is an old post, but I do not know what to do. I am a single mother and I do not have extra money. My husband and I were separated when he was deported and so he was not open or friendly about all of the details. I had no idea what to do. It has been almost 4 years since this happened. I spent almost $1,000.00 trying to keep in touch the first 6 months. It was too hard financially and he was so angry. We are still in touch periodically. We have a daughter together and I never tried to get a divorce. Legally we are still married. I have sent presents and letters to my daughter throughout the years saying they were from her Papi. She still cries for him. I am very close to his mother, but she has had a stroke and so the one person I knew how to talk to, give me instructions, can no longer speak to me. My husband called today and asked for $20. He said he had not eaten in 2 days. He needs $2,000.00 for the coyote to help him back across. I have less than $200.00 in my account and I don’t get paid until the Friday after. I am going to beg for the money, but if you are still reading this and know of any place that helps financially I would really appreciate that. I have a full time job. I am a CPO. I have worked at my current office for over two years. My credit is crap because of the separation and then the struggle to learn how to provide for myself and my daughter alone. I need help and it is not for me. I wish I could say it was all for my daughter, but my husband will always have a place in my heart and to know he is scared and he is starving makes my heart burst in my chest. I need to get him here. His family or my family will feed him. Take care of him. My mother would let him live with her. We just do not have the financial ability or the knowledge of this to know where to start. I do not even know how to send him $20 for food today.

  10. My husband has been in the US undocumented for almost 17 years and never been in trouble. Hes a good man and works for his family. We married over a year ago and have a 1yr old daughter. He is also the man that stepped up to be the dad of my 2 yr old son whos dad is not around and my 6 yr old son. Immigration came into our home and took him about a week ago. Its only been a short time and im so depressed while trying to keep it together for our babies is very difficult. Life is not the same without him. I am hopeing and praying he isnt deported and they will let him out on bond. We had already started his paperwork and are waiting for approval. My heart goes out to all the families who have been torn apart by deportation. Its not fair for good hardworking people trying to have a good life for their families to be treated the way they are. Its not right that we can get a passport and travel anywhere we want but for others to come into our country they have to fight tooth and nail…

    My prayers go out to everyone going through this kind of situation. It isnt easy.

  11. I am 19 I am engaged to my 21 yr old boyfriend who is originally from Jordan. he lives in Houston, but I live in Brownsville texas which is 6 hours away. According to his neighbor he’s in jail right now and will see the judge later today the reason hes here is student visa, but a certain document expired. we were supposed to get married by court today. I honestly don’t know what to do I swear there is nothing. I may be young but I love this man and wouldn’t ever want to lose him. No one deserves any pain like this. Please help me.

    1. Ariana, I’m sorry for the intense pain that you and your boyfriend must be going through. Please check out the resources page. And please know that you are not alone. Love, Giselle

  12. I love this!! Sadly to say, everything on this list has been said to me via phone… It hurts because nobody gets it, I’ve even heard well maybe now you will get w a citizen…. ugh that hurts. My fiancee has been here since he was 15… He didn’t come here to be a criminal, he came to work and that’s just what he did. We met January 25th 2012, (I thank God for that day 🙂 best day of my life) since that day he had tried to become legal through the courts….. we live in AZ and kept getting denial after denial, he kept saying we live in a racist state, but I kept reassuring him God was going to change their hearts…… hundreds of thousands dollars and 3years later he’s gone…

    March 1st,2015 15 ICE agents came to our home at6:30 am (15 to pick up one man) ,yes I was terrified as well as my children, they grabbed him out of the house(HE’S HUMAN!!!) I’m sorry, it’s still very fresh, I’m hurt, depressed, angry and pissed off… is this the country I was born in??????
    Friends call me and tell me I’m acting different, and I’ve changed. … Um yes I have, you try seeing the love of your life get snatched out of your life, you’d change too. I used to be a happy, energetic Christian woman but as of now I’m severely depressed (lost 27 pounds cause can’t find energy to eat) and utterly disappointed in sooooo many people.

    I pray for the day that God changes our world’s heart and laws. Big hugs and love to all affected by our “lovely” laws.

  13. My husband was deported back in September of 2014. He was arrested back in December of 2013. It has been and continues to be a struggle. I pray everyday to make it through the day. Sometimes I get through the day. And then there are days when I break down. I feel like I am being punished for loving and marrying my mexican husband. I have to pack our home up and move in with my parents. My only comfort is being able to call him and text him. But its not the same as having him home. Thank you for your blog cause at times I feel all alone.

    1. Kathie, thank you. It is comments like yours that has brought me back and up with the blogging again. Sending you big hugs and love across the wires. Please know that you are not alone. Love, Giselle

  14. I am a Combat Veteran and my best friend, who is like a brother, is my brother will be deported in April 2015. The only thing I can think about is to contact my reps and congressman. What can I do? If you all have any suggestions on what I can do to keep him here please let me know?

    1. Mems, I’m sorry that I didn’t answer you sooner. Please check out my resources page that I’ll be putting up here. I hope that there will be an organization that can help you and your best friend. Please keep me updated and thank you for your service. Sincerely, Giselle

  15. Will it me again. Went to court Wednesday he getting deportation. Now our whole life’s will change. We still love each other and stay together. Be we are so sad and am sick everyday in pain. Son doesn’t understand still. I just want my happy marriage back. Thanks a lot judge. U think u doing a good job. U don’t even know your separate good familys.

  16. I never dream of this happen to me a U.S. citizen. Pretty much happy marriage. We love each other alot. Got married on 5-11-13. He went to jail on 3-19-14. Now is been 7 months. And he probably getting deport. He has a felony. I didn’t know about. Me and my son are serving now. He doesn’t understand why he love us but can’t come home. He seen him twice in this time in jail. The only thing I now am going to wait for him. To come back or move to Mexico. Wish I don’t know how am going to do. My whole life and family here is here in Texas. This doesn’t happen to U.S. citizen. There for I guess am a immigrant too. U U.S.A courts separate up good familys . We just want to be happy like every other U.S.A normal family.

    1. Christy, thank you for sharing. Stories like yours are unfortunately the stories of so many, too many. Please check out the resources page here on the site and please know that you are not alone. Love, Giselle

  17. my husband is in haskell, tx in a immagrant jail. we married on may 11, 2013. went to jail on march 19, 2014. we didn’t ever get to eat our one year wedding cake. this has kill me . my son don’t understand why dad can’t come home. am try to do everything to keep him here. but is so hard. it been 7 months all most. went will it end? i haven’t touch him since the day they took him. i miss him hug me. and no you hug is not the same. is help a little. but it does’t make my heart whole. is broken till we are together again. the ice people think they are doing the right thing. they get to go home to their family every night. while me and the other wifes who husbands our in immagrant jail our in they home country don’t. we go home to a empty bed and house. it’s no more a home is a house home is where you husband is. wish i guess my home is a jail. no one to help us do anything. who suffer the family. not just him. why are they hurt the familys of american citzens and children? we are american too. we didn’t know loving someone would be like this.

  18. I read that their are support groups online, is there anyway I can get a list. My husband was deported in March…our story of a long one and our fight is only beginning. It’s tearing me and my children up physically and mentally. =/ Please help. I don’t know where to turn =(

  19. I feel the pain and heartbreak reading these stories. My husband may get deported soon. I am a young US citizen newly married for almost 3 years. I love him more than anything else in the world, but I am afraid of his deportation because we are christian and his country hates and persecutes Christians. I also don’t speak his native language so moving and culture change will be difficult. I am unable to get pregnant from the health problems and depression. Nobody seems to understand and people are quick to judge. I feel so alone and even my own family doesn’t care. All I want is to be with him, and have a home and live my life happily. Is that too much to ask for???

    1. Thank you for sharing. In all of the political discussion that whirls around this issue, many people forget that at the center, we are talking about human beings. You are not asking for too much at all. I hope that you are all able to live in peace soon. Love, Giselle

  20. my wife being deported were fightingit but it seems its not getting better we been maried for 5 years but been together for 10 years we have 4 children together i have our kids asking when mommy coming back home it hurts bad i have no answer and what is the most screwed up i cant do anything to stop it it hurts really bad my best friend wife going to get deported all i can do is watch im a disabled dad with 4 kids i feel a void in my heart and i see my kids and her things in the house and it kills me to the fullest its so hard to continue or even go on and worst of it is i want to go with her but dont know where she gonna be dropped off i love my wife with all my heart and it hurts me to see this happen to her im lost !!!

  21. Thanks for posting this blog! My husband was deported back in August 2013 to Honduras. I came across this site when I was in search of support groups and it’s nice knowing there are people out there who, unfortunately, are going through the same issue.Thanks again! I’m praying for every separated family out there- hopefully our families will be reunited soon.

  22. I appreciate you telling it like it is. My husband wad deported 4 years ago. we tried to get him legal but he was ordered deported due to a change in the law in 98. As our family grew were unable to hire a new lawyer or paid immigration anymore money then the thousands we had already paid for nothing so after 16 years and 3 kids he was pulled over and deported. we need to change the laws .

    1. Same here after 8 yrs and 4 children my husband was pulled over and deported my 4 yr old son wept today and asked “Daddy, when will you come home???” And when my husband cried and shook his head my poor son crying his eyes out asked why daddy why?

  23. My husband will be deported soon. He is currently in jail (drinking just gets the best of him), but now my 2 boys will grow up with no father. I have often thought of moving with him but am scared to death. I fortunately have a good job here and albeit difficult we will make it. My husband can be scoundrel sometimes but I love him and would never want to see him and his kids separated. I am at a loss, it feels like death, and I don’t get how ripping families apart is an answer to anything. My husband has been here since age 9 he is now 38, he knows nothing of his home country. Do they just take them and drop them off at the border or how does this work. Any advice welcome and I will pray for each of you ladies and your families.

    1. Hi Sunshine, thank you for taking the time to stop by. Each case is different, but often times a person who has been detained is dropped off at the border. I’ll be sending you a message to your email from my address, so please keep an eye out for it. Please know that you are not alone. Big Hug, Giselle

    2. Hello, I’m just responding to your question. My fiancee was grabbed from our house on March 1,2015 during a sweep. It was heartbreaking, 6:30 in the morning and in front of our kids and we never got to hug him or say goo. He was in ICE holding cell for 4days as I scrambled around w his lawyer but eventually got deported…. I got sad cause he called and yes they just drop them off at the border( we are in AZ, so Nogales) he’s from Ruiz Cortinez, Chihuahua so he had to wait till i could send him money. I am now alone w our children… Yes we talk everyday but it’s not the same waking up alone. He was detained March 1st, it is now the 17th and not mine nor his family has stopped by. I am completely upset with this country….. we are all humans. Prayers and big hugs to you!

      1. Licia, we are indeed all humans. The pain that you and your family are going through is tremendous. Please be sure to check out the resources page that I’ll be posting here. Know that you are not alone. Love, Giselle

  24. The father of my children (now my husband) came to American when he was 6 and never visited till that day. He was educated here his whole life. We met when I was 19 and he 21. At the age of 28 he got into a car accident with a police officer. he was giving 4 years probation., no jail time. This was fine until he was required to go to AA 3x a week. That wasn’t possible, u c, he had a job, like the rest of us. He was required to go to AA because the he came up with traces of alcohol in his urine. We didn’t know a 28yr old man wasn’t allowed to drink.
    Well, that’s activated a V.O.P.. being that he was on a four your probation period, it alerted ICE. He fell under the umbrella charge of aggravated felony. This conviction carries a permanent bar from the US. The crazy part is that his charge isn’t aggravated nor a felony, but they said it doesn’t have to fall under this. How is that? We fought, we won, they appealed, we lost.
    Our daughter was 5 years old by the time he got deported. I’m Spaniard-American (born here), I got my BS in Business, he in engineering and we owned a beautiful Victorian home at the water front. Our lives were set. We had the American dream.
    In August 2004 we moved to the Dominican Republic. Rented an apartments in a nice area, went in on a partnership with a local merchant put our daughter in an all accredited American prep school. We rented out our house in Jersey. It was the three of us. We thought we would be okay.
    We weren’t, yeah, I missed my family and friends, but that wasn’t it. Our business fell, my property manager was robing me blind back in NJ and our money was running low. I frequently took flights back to manage our investments. 3 days turned into a week, than 2. Than I got pregnant with my son, it was a high risk pregnancy and had to stay state side for my 2nd and 3rd term. All this put pressure on our relationship. He was alone in a country he didn’t even remember. Trying to run a business with an engineering degree. Our (NJ) house was in foreclosure due to my shitty property manager. Needless to say, in December 2005 my daughter and I moved in with my mother her in the states. Stressed and sad, I left him by himself.
    We went back and my son just met his father for the 1st time this June 2013. I married him October 2013 and I want my family back. We don’t want to live in DR, he wants to get out. He says it’s been the worst years of his life….he wants out! I guess all this has been me venting but also ending with a question. Where can we go? Is it hard for a deportee to get into Canada or any other country where we can live a more suitable life?? We want our family back the DR isn’t realistic. Please help. 😦

    Thank you.

    1. Sylvia, thank you very much for taking the time to come by and share some of you and your family’s difficult story. I really appreciate your honesty and truly hear your pain. Please know that you’re not alone. I’ll be sending you an email from my email. Please keep an eye out for it. Big hug, Giselle

  25. Hey ladies, just wanted to check back in here..and let you all know that we’re still hanging in. He’s just going to comply and sign the papers to be returned. That’s the fastest/easiest way for us to be together. He’s still doing his jail time and then after that ICE will take him and yea…send him on his way. Some people have told me to try to fight it, but I have spoken to several immigration lawyers since my original post and they all say the same thing. You see..he has a felony and even though in our eyes its something small…well in Immigrations eyes its huge..and they consider it an aggravated felony. When immigration spoke to my man the officer told him that she would be doing everything possible so that he does not see a judge…and they have that power. smh Its a sad thing. It really is. But I think now, we have just learned over these past few days to accept that this is going to happen, that its already happening. I am doing what I can here now to come up with enough money to be able to make it down there for awhile until we are able to get back here. We are not giving up, we are just giving in for now…but I will continue to fight this. When we do make it back.. I vow to go to every news channel, every newspaper…anyone who will listen and tell our story and the stories of others. I want to be heard and want others to hear, feel and see with their own eyes the destruction that this is causing. Things do not have to be the way they are now. This country has so many problems now a days, I mean if they would just listen to US..the people of this country..and follow some of our advice, I’m sure things would be a lot different around here. Is it so hard to allow husbands and fathers, Wifes and mothers, children to be a family normally in a country where one or the other is originally from?? smh Goodluck to everyone here. I will keep you updated. 🙂
    Much Love and many prayers for ALL OF US struggling and trying to get thru these hard times,

  26. My husband was deported and honestly it’s one of the hardest things you have to face. He spent months in detention. Has no criminal record after ice said they wanted to give him a chance. They deported my husband without the right to even call me. They shipped him off over night after months of fighting. They destroyed our family.

    1. Anonymous, thank you very much for telling a small part of you and your husband’s painful and real story. I completely hear about the destruction of your family. It think that there’s a real physical and emotional response that many of us have the phrase, “Separation of families.” It is not just a term that get thrown around – it is something real and tangible. Please know that you are not alone. There are support groups online that have been really helpful for me. If you’re not already participating, please send me an email at and we can get you connected up and in community. Big Hug, Giselle

    2. Same thing happened to my husband in 2011 they didnt even let me bring him clothes or anything. He had been here 8 years and had NOTHING when he arrived back in El Salvador. They took him away from me the same day we went for the ultrasound of our second child and found out we were having a boy 😦 this has been the hardest thing we have ever had to endure. still trying to bring him home……

      1. Amy, thank you for posting your comment here. It breaks my heart about how such terrible and wonderful news on the same day. Sending you a big hug across the wires. Sincerely, Giselle

  27. I want to say that I came here to this site looking for information on how if you are allowed to hug a loved one who is being deport before they actually got on the plane to leave….and reading thru what you posted is so true,. I am going thru this nightmare right now…and its so hard..and every single thing that you listed above as far as what not to do and what to do…u hit it right on the head. I am not married to my fiancé yet (we have been together almost 9 years though), we were to be married in June of this year…and everything got messed up. He is now going to be deported and our lives have just been turned upside down. Our whole world crushed. We have 5 children..and they are the center of his world.and they are taking this so hard. I am wondering for anyone out there that has been thru this….does ICE let you hug your loved one before they actually get ready to leave?? Do they tell you ahead of time that their leaving?? Our plan is for me to sell everything and go down there to live with him until we can somehow get back. He is from Honduras. If anyone can help me out with these questions I would appreciate it greatly. We are from Wisconsin..and its just a smaller city, and people around here do not know much about deportation or anything and I can’t seem to find a straight answer about anything. Right now he is currently finishing a jail sentence in Minnesota, he will be done with that on June 12th. But INS has a hold on he’ll be handed over right away to them..and then he just is going to sign the paperwork to get this done and over with. There is no sense in trying to fight his case..because he has a criminal history which wouldn’t allow him a bond or voluntary departure. So if anyone has any information or can at least answer me those questions above that would be so nice of you. Thankyou so much.

    1. Dear Charcieg,

      Thank you for your message. I’m so truly sorry that you’re going through such a terrible time. Please know that you’re not alone in this. There’s a whole community out there, and we can help you to the best of our abilities. I’m going to email you right now from to the hotmail email you have here. Big Hug, Giselle PS IF anyone else would like to reach out to our sister in the struggle, please do so. Thanks.

    2. My husband is also from Honduras.They never let me hug my husband. Worse of all they put him on a plane no notice to him or me. After they said they wanted to give him a chance.I know the feeling

      1. Yvette, thank you for coming in to post. I know that horrible feeling of not being able to hug your husband goodbye. And the fact that you had no notice…there simply are no words. Please contact me at if you need further support. You are not alone. Big hug, Giselle

  28. This is a great post and I soooo agree with the weight-loss/poverty part! For me it was weight gain because I was eating cheap processed foods instead of good stuff. We were soooo poor our first 2 years here in Mexico. Things have gotten so much better over the years and I remember going through some of the things you listed. It’s wonderful that you share

    1. Thank you for your comment Gringita!;) For me, the weight gain has been in the States, where I move around a lot less. But I’m working on it with my roomies! I really understand about the poverty piece in Mexico. The silver lining for me, the gift of that extreme poverty is that, coming from an upper middle class upbringing, I now can talk about class issues with a lot more ease than I could before. I’m so glad that things have gotten better for you over the years. Thanks for stopping by, and bug hug across the wires. Sincerely, Giselle

  29. Thanks for this post. Trying to put myself in the shoes of my friends who dealt with having a friend (me) being deported, it is almost like dealing with a death in a family and finding one self at a loss of words. Because in a similar way, families that experience deportation are only left with picking up the pieces of their broken lives after deportation. But it is all a matter of being empathetic and I believe your provide some good insights on what to consider when you have friends in this situation. To add to point 6, I would say that friends should stop assuring you that “one day” you will be able to come back. Because first of all, they are not attorneys and have little understanding about immigration law and it just puts you in an uncomfortable situation of explaining why that is not the case. It only serves as a constant reminder of the high probability that you may never be able to return back. Lastly, thank you for adding me to the blog roll. 😉

    1. Nancy, thank you for stopping by my blog. Your perspective is extremely valuable. The thoughts and suggestions you bring up here are right on the money-particularly the whole “one day” statements, and how people handle loss. And por supuesto I’d link to you 🙂 Big hug, Giselle

  30. When I read the comments the experience of witnessing a loved one being deported seems to be a chronic state of crisis that can lead to a deeply ingrained trauma if no support is given (and received). In one way or another all points you have mentioned fit in the category how to behave/act/talk with a person experienced a traumatic situation. Having worked and encountered many people under extreme life circumstances, I believe not being afraid of making mistakes helps a lot! Maybe that could be another bullet point on that list.


    1. Carmen, excellent point about trauma/extreme life circumstances. I also agree with the not being afraid to make mistakes part – that is an important element of ally work. I would add that cleaning up mistakes gracefully is the other piece or side of not being afraid of making mistakes. I feel that being able to clean up mistakes from an authentic place is just as important as not being afraid of making the mistakes. Thank you for commenting. I’m sending you a wordless movement of thanks across the wires – can you feel/see it? 😉 Big Hug, Giselle

  31. I love this blog Giselle! I’ll add one from my ventures that I have heard, “you are destroying your children’s education and their futures” is something that I believe my answer to was no shit! Who is to say really. But it is just not something that needs to be said to a woman who is torn in half.

    1. Raquel-Man,the things that people say, right? Lordy loo! And you are absolutely right-that is totally not the thing to say to a woman who is torn in half. Thank for stopping by, and for your lovely self! Big hug, Giselle

  32. I do live in a tourist paradise. It beautiful year round, its picture perfect weather 360 days a year and the beaches are amazing. But even people close to me forget that I live here, I’m not on vacation. I work long days for very very little money. I have to come home and do homework with my two children. I cook and clean, which can be a bit more involved and or creative than it was in the US. I have to pay bills which entails physically going to the phone or electric or water company and stand in line to pay them. I have nobody to watch my kids except my husband. Yes I had a really nice tan in January while you were shoveling snow and scraping ice from your car, but Id so much rather be doing that with you or complaining about it over a hot cup of coffee than be here near the beach alone!

    1. Becca thank you for sharing your very real and honest feelings. It is extremely important for the people in our lives to know how we are feeling in the center of our hearts. Your bravery and willingness to speak your thoughts and feelings here as well as in our group is a true source of inspiration for me. Big hug across the wires, and here’s to you and your family having that coffee and shoveling that snow.

  33. This had me in tears too we’ve only been goin through this since feb24 2012 but everything you mention goes straight to my heart and couldn’t have been written better

    1. Sophia, thank you for taking the time to post. Please know that your experience and thoughts are just as valid, no matter if over one year has passed or one day. And please know that you’re not alone. Please email me if you’re not a member of the online group that I talk about in this blog post. Big hug, Giselle

  34. I have never posted on a blog before, but this had me balling. They took my husband when I was 9 months pregnant with our first child. He was here legally and they took him anyway. I have now seen and done it all…thank God, we got it all worked out and he is HOME and has his green card…but I will never trust the system again and I still live with the fear that he will end up being taken again. God bless all of you.

    1. Kelli, thank you so much for taking the time to comment here for the first time on a blog. That means a lot to me. I also really appreciate you sharing some of the details of you and your husband’s painful immigration journey. You are a strong woman to have had all of that happen when you were 9 months pregnant with your first child. I understand how you still live with the fear. And thank you for your blessings. I hold you in my heart. Sincerely, Giselle

  35. Love this!

    12. Don’t ask, “So, any news on __[spouse/partner]’s__ immigration situation?” every time you see us.” Know that when there’s any relevant news to share, we’ll tell you. Until then, it really just rubs salt in the wound of the ongoing, agonizing wait for a breakthrough.

  36. 11 says it all for me! I also believe that one day he will be allowed back here but for now I am estranged from my family because me and my children moved over there to be with him! I have no regrets of doing it and have since after two years had to come back to the states because of the harsh living yes I lost weight but I needed to because of weight gain lol…….my friends are very supportive and the day will come when I will leave to be with him again. I think that all of your points were well said!

    1. Felicia thank you for the comments. I understand what you’re saying here about family-I’m in the no regrets category as well. And after 2 years back in the States, I’m working my butt off literally and figuratively to lose weight as well! 😉 Here’s to smaller waists and reunited families! Big hug, Giselle

  37. 11. If their spouse is currently still here in the US with them, don’t treat them like they are suffering any less. I still live with the daily fear that he isn’t going to come home, be arrested at a normal traffic stop, or worse yet, THEY will knock on our door one day and take him away in handcuffs in front of our daughters. We are all living the nightmare. Offer to help if they need a back up plan for their children, house, bills, pets, you name it.

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