Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez And My Husband

My husband, Picasso.

I have heard about the DREAMers who attempted to return home to the United States today after deportation, including my constituent Lulu Martinez from Chicago. I hope the Obama administration will do the right thing and let them back in. To make us whole in immigration reform, I believe that people deported without a criminal record should be able to apply to return in the US. -LVG

Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, who represents the 4th District of Illinois, posted this statement on his Facebook page this past Monday regarding the #bringthemhome action, which I support 100%.

What caught my eye was his last sentence: “I believe that people deported without a criminal record (emphasis mine) should be able to apply to return in the US.”

When my husband Picasso was deported in 2001, he was deported from Chicago, Illinois. That was his second deportation. We moved to Chicago in 2000, to what was a new city for me, but where Picasso had a lot of family and memories.

His first deportation? In 1993. Ohio Highway Patrol officers pulled a 19-year old Mexican kid off a Greyhound bus because, as the police report said, “He looked nervous.”

Picasso didn’t have the right papers. Ohio Highway Patrol officers patted him down and also discovered that he was carrying a concealed weapon. Didn’t pull it on anyone. Was just carrying it.

There’s a book-length story around that gun, a Harrington & Richardson .32 millimeter, trust me.

But some stories are simply held in our eyes and not on the page.

What I will say is that my husband absolutely admits 100% that what he did was wrong. He always has. He always will.

He made that very clear in his I-212 waiver application and again when he was in front of that bullet-proof glass window at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez for his U.S. permanent residency appointment this past June.

But this is what I’m thinking about this morning:

When Picasso was deported in 2001, and slapped with a 20-year ban that in actuality was a lifetime ban, it didn’t even cross my mind to reach out to my Congressperson.

Who represented me at that time, based on where we lived?

Of course.

None other than The Honorable Luis V. Gutiérrez, representing the 4th District of Illinois since 1993.

I know that so many of the people in my community, those of us who have/had a deported spouse or partner, so many of us carry a secret shame about what our spouse/partner did.

Our loved one’s stories don’t fit anything close to the, “exceptional immigrant” mold. And for the record, the #bringthemhome campaign has nothing to do with the “exceptional immigrant” narrative.

We have a great tale to tell about our spouse’s/partner’s unjust deportation.

Right up until we get to the part where we have to explain some things.

Then things go from “exceptional” to “deceptional.” I’ve heard that switch when talking with reporters. When talking with new friends. Students in classes. Family and faith leaders.

In my one-woman show, “The Deportee’s Wife,” I talk about my husband carrying a concealed weapon on page seven of a 33-page script.

I lose audience members many times exactly from page seven, never to return.

The irony is, our spouses and partners, with their criminal histories and bad decisions, with their shaky pasts and unsure legal futures, our imperfect spouses and partners are often the key person that helps us to heal in a big way about what’s broken in our own lives.

At least I know that’s the case in my situation. And I’m extremely grateful to my husband for the healing energies that he’s provided for me over the years, allowing me to journey towards being a more whole and integrated human being.

So, Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez and the others who push the “exceptional immigrant” model?

I invite you to take a walk with my husband one day and listen to his life story.

He’s going to be 40 this October.

And I challenge you to rethink your views about criminal records and deported immigrants.

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21 thoughts on “Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez And My Husband

  1. Oh, THANK YOU. Can I tell you how excited and relieved I was to find someone else! My husband was just deported Jan 28, 2014 for purchasing a gun in 2000. We have been fighting this in court since 2003. He being a typical young man wanted one and thought he could since he passed a background check… well we all know how that ended. I would love any advice and names of attorneys. I have called so many and they simple will not return my calls. I was deviated and was searching the web for any ray of hope then I found your blog. Gives me hope. Thank you for sharing your story, I love it!
    Jess

  2. We have been living in Europe for the last 8 years since my LPR husband’s deportation (for a crime that was initially worth only 1 year of probation…) I found out last week that the ‘lifetime’ ban I thought he had is really 20 years of inadmissability. That means in 11.5 more years, we can move back, just in time for our daughter to start High School. What difference would it make to anyone but US if we were allowed a 212 waiver to come back now? Has anyone out there been granted a waiver after deportation? Or do they just let you apply and then deny them all?

    1. Hi Lisa, thank you for stopping by. To be clear-I’m not a lawyer and in no way is this legal advice. However, from my experience and the experience of others, it is my understanding that you’ll be able to apply for the I-212 waiver one your husband has completed 10 years from the date of his deportation outside of the US. That’s how it was in our situation. I, of course, wish that you could apply now. However, you definitely should check with some lawyers that come very well-recommended. Email me and I can send you a list of recommended lawyers. Most do free consultations. Please know that you’re not alone. Sincerely. Giselle

    2. Hi Lisa, contact Justice for our Neighbors organization, they are fantastic with answering questions like this. A great attorney to review your husbands file is Marshall Hyman if you are from Michigan.

  3. You definitely just spoke for all of us in this situation. I would love for any of these individuals to walk a day in my shoes and/or my husbands. I love reading your posts as they are a reminder that one day I will get through this as well. You are an inspiration 🙂 Hugs!!

  4. I agree with you Giselle, sometimes it is hard for me to read about the good ones’ that do get through with this mangled system, my husband is one of those that has a criminal background and has a lifetime ban…….I thought that this would change with the new reform and I would be able to fight for him…… I love the fact that you stuck by your husband I do the same for mine and there are times that I feel that I cannot do it like I feel all alone…….knowing that your fight is over is a blessing and wish all the best and pray one day that it will be me and my husband…….God Bless!

    1. Felicia, Thank you for stopping by with your kind words. I really understand about it being hard to read about the “good ones” that get through this mangled system. Please know that I hope with all of my heart that you and your husband will have justice restored. and I hope that it is very soon. Love, Giselle

  5. The definition of “Criminal Record” is very broad….too broad. Many people make mistakes. Those mistakes do not define the person. The person who made a mistake years ago may not be the same person who is trying to stay with their loved ones now. It will be very disappointing if they pass CIR that will expect squeaky clean slates.

    1. Anonymous, thank you for stopping by! And yes, I agree that the definition is way too broad and sweeping. The squeaky clean slates is going to lock so many in our community out, with “Criminal record” standing the way that it is now. And I’m tried of politicians and certain non-profits pushing this narrative of the, “exceptional immigrant” as the only one who is given any opportunity to stay with full rights in the U.S. For me, the proposed CIR is already extremely disappointing, and this is another nail in the coffin for me. I know that the conversations around “criminal records” would be a complicated one, but I feel that they must be done. If those conversations don’t happen, which I’m afraid that they won’t, then we will continuing to prepetuate the separation of families, no matter what any politican or certain non-profits say. Saludos, Giselle

  6. The first thing that came out of my mouth after reading this was “WOW”. You go Giselle. You basically just spoke for ALL of us women in the same situation. I love reading your blog, it helps to just know what I am not alone. Thanks

    1. Thank you so much for your kinds words, Patricia! It really means a lot to me to hear feedback from people who are in our community. When I am afraid to write something, I always think of comments like yours to keep on writing. Big hug across the wires! Love, Giselle

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