Life takes a 180

Oh shit.

This was probably one of the worst days of my life.  I don’t really know where to start this story, it really started ten years ago.  I’m married to a man who is half Turkish, half Moroccan.  He was brought here by his mom when he was a minor.  He went from Turkey, to Kingston, Jamaica to shitty Lubbock, Texas…talk about a culture fuck.  His mom was abusive, and abandoned him often.  I’m not going into the gory details but he was on his own by 16.  Since then he’s put himself through college, had a successful music and computer programming career, and had two beautiful daughters with his ex-wife.  Back in Lubbock in the late ’90s while he was still in high school he got mixed up in a check fraud case.  He didn’t steal any checks, but his friend did an bought him some snacks with it.  Since there are no accomplice laws in Texas, you’re simply guilty by association and he got charged with check fraud.  Hence, there was an order for removal (the INS’s nice word for deportation) back in 1998.  He appealed it back then, but the case went into a black hole.  The INS literally lost all of his paperwork, including his green card, and any record that he showed up to court for his charges.  The lawyer told him to relax and just ignore it, because the INS was just washing their hands….

So fast-forward to two months ago.  Some INS agents showed up at his mom’s house looking to deport him for “failing to appear” at INS court ten years ago.  He did appear, they just lost his paperwork.  We were kind of freaked out by this to say the least.  If you get deported, you can’t come back.  Period.  They’re serious as a heart attack about that shit.  So for awhile we’ve been playing it safe, not going out, and I drive everywhere we go just to be safe.  I guess we started getting a false sense of security, and I started letting him go out for his morning espresso, just 2 minutes from our house.  This morning his took his 4 year old daughter along to get her some hot cocoa.  I was still sleeping…

He came back in a panic.  He told me that he had accidentally cut some guy off in traffic (he checked his blind spot but the other guy’s car was tiny and I guess it was just below our Toyota 4-runner’s sight line) and this guy ended up driving into a pole.  He stopped to see if the guy was alright (he was, thank god, no one was hurt), but when he heard the cops coming he panicked and told the guy he needed to drop his daughter off and would come back.  He wanted me to go back and give the insurance info.  When I did the cops asked me his name in birth date, and kept demanding that he come back and talk to them.  I realized that it was better for me to bring him there, rather than them come to our house.  They kept insisting to me that he was not in trouble, he did NOT hit and run, and they just needed a statement and possibly give him a ticket.  I agreed to go get him and bring him back.  Bad idea I guess, but what was I supposed to do?  They already had our address.  So like a dumbass I believed them, picked up him and my stepdaughter from home (as much as I did not want to bring her along I was not about to leave a 4 year old at home alone, we’re better parents than that).  As soon as we got there they arrested him because when they had ran his name it pulled up his old deportation warrant.

My knees went out when they arrested him.  Thankfully I had parked somewhere else and his daughter didn’t see them put the cuffs on him, but I went and got her out of the car anyway so he could kiss her goodbye (he couldn’t hug her cause of the cuffs and it broke my heart).  She was upset, but I just kept trying to tell her over and over again that daddy was going to be okay.  She’s definitely her father’s daughter because she told me afterwards that she wanted to kill the cops!

All I know for now is that he’s being held downtown.  He was able to call me once, while they were booking him.  It’s not fair.  My husband is sooo not a criminal.  He came to this country against his will and was not knowingly breaking the law when he was just 17.  Our business employs 6 other American citizens in this failing economy.  The University of Texas was about to grant him an honorary degree in computer science for all of his contributions to their organization (UT is one of our biggest contractors).  All of our business has come to a screaming halt because as much as I can administrate and write, I am no programmer.  I have no way to bring in income at this point.  I keep going over it in my mind and wondering if this is all my fault…I literally drove him to his arrest, and we were just trying to do the right thing!

I’m hoping to find out more tomorrow, and hopefully visit him.  The jail told me it would take 72 hours, so I might have to wait until Monday.  Fuck.

If he is deported, I’m on the next plane to Turkey, simple as that.  This might change from a snarky blog about TV shows to a real life travel blog.  We’ve always dreamed about moving to Europe, I just never guessed it would happen so soon.

I suppose some sort of psychic beacon went out, because his friends have been calling non-stop like they knew something was wrong.  Since I can’t sleep (I haven’t spent a day away from him since we met over a year ago) I may just go to my best friend’s diner where she works over-nights and try to eat my pain away.  I got a little drunk with my mom earlier but it didn’t help.

Sigh… =*(

UPDATE #1–5/9/09

He was able to call me a few times today after I set up a pre-paid account that allows my phone to accept collect calls from the jail.  It took forever.  He’s doing okay, and the first question out of his mouth was how his daughter was doing (she’s fine, and back with her mom).  I’m working on getting a lawyer as soon as possible, and I’ll be able to go visit him in jail on Monday at noon.  I can’t wait to see him, today was the first day I spent without him since we met.  It was lonely.  The hardest part going to see him on Monday will be not being able to touch him, I’d kill just to hold his hand right now.  At the moment there is no charge against him, which is good but it also means he can’t be bonded out.  At some point he will be transfered into INS custody in another city.  Austin does not have any INS offices or facilites, so he could end up 2 hours away from me in either San Antonio or Waco.  Just looking forward to Monday right now.

UPDATE # 2–5/11/09

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19 Responses to “Life takes a 180”

  1. fadingnebula Says:

    I’m so so sorry!! I’m praying for you. Have you tried to contact your local ACLU? They take cases like this without charging, I think…I work for a lawyer, so I know how much fighting this costs…Try the ACLU. I hope it helps…I wish I could help.

    • Jen512 Says:

      Thank you fadingnebula, I actually had not thought of contact the ACLU, that’s a good idea. Do they help non-citizens too?

  2. tvsnark Says:

    This is horrible. I’m so sorry.
    Can you start a petition of people that know him and explain that he is not a criminal??

    I would sign it in a heartbeat and so would many of us that (know) you!

    If you move to Europe we will all come visit. I promise!!! 🙂

    I feel for you and I will be thinking about this all weekend. Please keep us updated.

  3. Jen512 Says:

    Thank you tvsnark! I had a very sleepless night, I spent a lot of time emailing lawyers and our business partner. I have a list of people that have already offered me money for his defense! It’s amazing, I never expected that. I’m also going to be able to visit him on monday, which I can’t wait for. For now he’s just sitting at the county jail waiting to be turned over to INS.

    I’ll give some serious thought to your petition idea, and see if a lawyer thinks it would help. I’ve also thought about sending letters to my congressman and even to Obama.

    • fadingnebula Says:

      I think at the very least, the ACLU would be willing to listen to you and point you to someone who could help, if they can’t, and if not, I’m sure some of our blogger friends would help raise money to help!!

      • fadingnebula Says:

        One other thought, sorry for the rapid fire, but I’m thinking of cases that I’ve seen pass through our office. Though nothing like this. Perhaps start asking people to write letters of support, telling how he’s a valuable employee/contractor – your contacts at the university, community members, etc. Contact the lawyer who told you previously that it was no big deal – he seems to be a little liable for this happening, his advice did more harm than good – bring this up to the new lawyer…

      • Jen512 Says:

        Thank you again for your support, you are so kind. At this point I have the expenses covered, but thank you for the offer. I could never ask for money from people who barely know me. I’m going to contact his original lawyer on monday, and I agree that he was kind of useless. They paid him a huge retainer years ago and he has basically done nothing this whole time.

  4. JavaQueen Says:

    Holy hell woman, this is absolutely awful! What a bad deal that it went down that way but in NO way is it your fault. OMG, wish there were something helpful I could say …. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers and hope that everything works out for you!

    • Jen512 Says:

      Thank you for the well wishes, and people’s prayers mean a lot to me. I guess I feel bad because it feels like I didn’t protect him. Trust me, I lied my ass off to the cops but we know that never works. Thank you for telling me it’s not my fault. I just keep telling myself that we’re going to be together again somewhere, somehow.

  5. thegirlfromtheghetto Says:

    Ok, I feel so bad for you. First, hire a great and expensive immigration attorney. Don’t worry about the costs. Since you live in Texas I’m sure that there are some. Second, go to the court where he originally showed up. Ask for the manager, see if she/he worked there back then, and could they look around for old records on computer disks. As in register of action screens and old docket logs. Find someone who worked in the court back then. Tell them you are just trying to save your business and your family. Make him sound wonderful, as I am sure he is. Remind them that the judge’s court reporter still might have her court logs and transcripts from that day. If he showed up, the old transcriptionist would have an entry in her log. Bring your game and kiss these people’s asses. Even though they say there is no record, there still could be.

    And, just keep thinking that its all going to be ok. You have to be strong.

    I am so sorry you are going through this, and that I am horrible and didn’t come find out what was going on sooner.

    If he gets to stay and the case becomes closed, five years later you can make this a non-public record. Do that.

  6. Jen512 Says:

    You are not horrible! Thank you for the advice, you’re a very good friend to me. I’m going over to his mom’s tonight to get every last bit of paperwork she has and then I’m going straight to Kinkos. At this point I’m so confused by the crazy shit she tells me, and I wasn’t with him ten years ago so I have to figure out for myself what went wrong. He just knows whatever she told him years ago, because he was just a kid and she had already kicked him out.

    The original court and lawyer are in San Antonio about 2 hours away. I may go there on Tuesday to seek out the information you mentioned. On Monday I’m going to focus on hiring a lawyer in the morning and then visiting him at noon as soon visitation opens.

    • fadingnebula Says:

      Whatever you do, no matter how dire it seems, DON”T GIVE UP, and don’t let them wear you down. Be persistent, and insistent. Drag it out if you have to, show them you’re not someone who’s going to let them walk all over her. We’ll be here to support you through it!! I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers!

  7. joanharvest Says:

    I am so sorry. It seems so unfair. I will pray that this turns out well for you both.

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  9. AmandaBlogandKiss Says:

    Oh hell, this sucks! So sorry to read about your troubles! What a nightmare! Well, if the Netherlands thing works out, let me know if you have any questions! I’d be happy to help!

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