The immigration crisis in the United States has always been an issue, but technology, increased mass incarceration and deportations have surged and it affects everyone’s lives. Recently I ate at a Cameroonian restaurant where I met a couple who was currently undergoing the 2-year bar. An Argentinian woman I met there was married to her Turkish-American husband and had to move to Buenos Aires while she waits for her green card process to pull through. The plan is that he’d visit her about every 3-4 months until this happens. They, of course, married for love.
About a month ago a friend of mine (whom I’ll call Juan to protect his identity because his name is totally not Juan) moved back to Mexico because he also got desperate with the situation. Not all states in the US allow undocumented students to attend their schools or get financial aid for their studies, and Juan happened to live in Georgia, which is and was one of the worst for undocumented students to attend. He had been heavily active in the immigrants rights movement and that’s how we met four years ago.
Mexico is a great country but it’s really only great for those in the middle and upper classes and those who have the option to travel and leave. Juan’s case isn’t like this. Right now he’s separated from his family and friends and the road back is dangerous, expensive, and bound to get worse if Donald Trump is elected as president of the USA. In theory I understand Juan, but it’s true that as a US citizen I really do have more privileges. Maybe I’m not rich, but I can just enter and leave the US with relative ease.
Anyway, Juan asked me to marry him and I said no. It wasn’t easy. In the beginning I told him that I’m Argentina and can’t make that sort of decision when I’m so far away from him. As I thought it about I realized that I just can’t. Anything could happen.
The process for petitioning someone to move to the US with you when you’re a citizen could take years. I’m not sure if I’ll return to the States and when I do I know I’ll want to travel and have a lot of things I want to do. I don’t know if I’ll meet someone in Argentina or when I’m traveling, but petitioning someone is something that’s really only worth it if you love them. This is the one thing I knew I couldn’t say yes to. At the moment my conscience is clear about this. I know I did the right thing and I my friend Juan finds what he needs. I just can’t offer it to him right now.