Deportation Leaves US Mom With Broken Family

Jennifer Martinez is a US citizen living in Wisconsin with four children. Her husband of 14 years and the sole provider of income for the family has been deported to Mexico. Martinez says her husband doesn’t have a criminal record, but that’s the excuse the US used to send him to Mexico. Martinez says it’s another example of US Immigration policy go awry.

“They’re breaking apart family and their breaking apart family on the basis of you know my husband and others being criminals and that’s exactly what they’re not. My husband doesn’t have a criminal record. There just has to be a legal venue in order for us to actually get a legal status and right now there isn’t anything.”

Like “a meteor hit”

Being married to a US citizen is often the fast track to getting a “green card” which can lead to permanent citizenship. And under a new rule proposed by the Obama administration, people in the US illegally can be given a family hardship waiver in cases where they have immediate family in the US. But that waiver does not apply if there the immigrant has a criminal record. Again, Martinez says her husband has no criminal record.

Martinez marched with other immigration rights supporters in Milwaukee to call attention to cases such as her husband’s. The impact on her family has been devastating.

“”It’s almost like if a would meteor hit, that’s the only way I can explain it. You know I have four kids, he’s my husband of 14 years. He was a sole provider. So imagine just having the world drop out on you. Now is complete change for us. We’re in the process of moving to Mexico, because that’s the only place we can be a family because they gave him a 10-year bar.”

Martinez and her four children left for Mexico Thursday to be re-united with her husband.

“I just pray to god that somebody opens their eyes and stops breaking apart families because its absolutely devastating.”

Tracey Pollock

Tracey Pollock, a native of River Falls, Wis., studied journalism at UW-River Falls and finished her education at UW-Milwaukee with a focus in sociology. She is interested in covering social justice issues and shedding light on issues in a way that corporate media will not undertake. Pollock lives in Milwaukee, where generations of her family have resided. She enjoys the local music scene, bicycling and camping.

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