Archive for the ‘Deportation’ Category

My Day In Pictures

June 25, 2009

Yesterday I tried to send hubby some money at the jail so I wouldn’t have to drive the 2 1/2 hours down there to deposit it.  I did it wrong though.  Instead of addressing the money order to “Detainee Trust Fund” and addressing the envelope to him like I was supposed to, I did it the other way around.  They can’t cash a money order that’s addressed to him, so they have to mail it back to me.  We’re 90% positive he’s going to be sent next Tuesday which works out perfectly because my reservation is for Monday, which gets me there one day ahead.  Any money left in his commissary account will be given to him in cash when he leaves, so I didn’t want to take any chances, I wanted to get it on his books before the weekend.   So today I drove down to the jail to deposit money, I wish I could have visited him, but that’s only on Saturdays and Sundays.  I took pictures along the way to entertain myself, and I’ll share them with you.

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Here’s a perfect example of how Texans can butcher any word.  The town of Boerne is pronounced like “Bernie” as in “Weekend at Bernie’s” and Seguin is pronounced like “Seegeen”.  We do it to confuse all you non-Texans…

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The Alamo signs, must be in San Antonio!  They want you to remember.

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Another sign that I’m close to Mexico.  Forget guns, they’re smuggling bikes!  Or maybe they’re bikeguns.  Or bikes filled with cocaine.

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South Texas…flat, dry, and 101 degrees.

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The aftermath of a grass fire.

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More scorched earth in Pearsall.  Those things by the fence are burned cactus plants.

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Driving up to the ICE South Texas Detention Center in Pearsall, Tx.

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A vew from the parking lot.  Those boxes are the fully enclosed “yards” for each unit.  Even the top is covered in chain-link fencing.  Hubby says he avoids them, it’s an easy way to find trouble.

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I got in trouble for taking this picture.  Homeland Security isn’t too keen on people photographing their buildings…

I randomly ran into our lawyer in the parking lot, she was down there for her monthly visit to all her clients in there.  I had no idea but she was planning on visiting my husband too.  It was a very nice surprise.  Because he’s about to be sent out of the country, we don’t have any pressing legal matters, but she did want to check up on his well-being and they were also able to discuss how is case went wrong.  Sounds like he was 100% a victim of the system and the mess that occurred after 9/11.  Also his previous lawyer failed to properly notify him that his appeal had been denied in 2002.  We’re going to try to submit paperwork so that he could possibly come back into the US for visits after two years.

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After purchasing a can of liquid crack from the gas station (they were sold out of mocha, wah) there was nothing more to do than settle in for the long ride home.  I took a few more pictures of San Antonio along the way-

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After that long, long drive back home, I went to Victoria’s Secret because I’ve been wearing the same itchy bra for a year.  Lucky for me they were having their semi-annual sale and I scored 3 very comfy bras for 19.99 each.  Sorry, no pictures!  😉

I took a little nap after going to the mall, and then my mother-in-law dropped my oldest step-daughter off at my house.  She surprised me by giving me a three-stone diamond ring, a gift from my hubby.  I was so surprised!  It replaces my promise ring from when we decided to get married a year ago.  We’ve been common law married for more than a year, but we were waiting to get “officially” married when we saved up more money.  Now we’re planning to get married in Turkey.

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How lovely is that?  I love him so much.  And yes, I’m practically albino.

Still preparing for my flight on Monday…five more days!  I can’t believe it.   I’m going to create a dedicated blog for my Turkish adventure, don’t worry I will provide links to it as soon as it is ready.

Answer

June 12, 2009

This is a deportation update that’s important enough for its very own post.  If you’re new, welcome! but I’m burned out on making links for this story, so just keep scrolling down.

Okay, so we’ve been sweating bullets over not knowing when they’re going to send him to Turkey.  We pretty much found out earlier this week that they are not going to let him use the ticket I bought him.  Lame, and since the tickets are for THIS coming Monday, I was pretty sure that I was going to have to cancel my flight too (don’t worry I bought Travelocity insurance so I can rebook with only a little fees).  I’m trying to go over there before he does so I can meet him there with money and travel arrangements.  We’re going to be staying with his family in Adana, but he’ll most likely land in Istanbul.  That’s like landing in NY when everyone you know lives in LA.  He won’t have anything with him except what he had on him when he got picked up, just the clothing on his back and his drivers license (I’m still trying to find out if he can keep his DL, I don’t want landing with zero ID).  I am allowed to pack a gym bag for him with only one set of clothes and one pair of shoes (no laces allowed, another piece of stupidity).  Can you image landing in a foreign country with no money, no id, and no phone?  Scary, no?  I know it’s his home country, but he barely speaks the language.

So today we got one imporant answer.  His deportation officer (after much harassing) told our lawyer that hubby will be leaving at the earliest June 29, and at the latest July 3.  They will not give out more information because they think people will try to hijack the planes, more stupidity…

I still need to reschedule my flight, but I’m planning for June 29th now…two weeks!

Another Deportation Update

May 29, 2009

First of all, I want to thank everyone that has come by to lend support.  It really really means a lot to me.

If you are new to this story, see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the saga.

I haven’t updated in a while because for most of the week nothing has changed.  The only new development was that someone in his unit got swine flu so everybody was quarantined for 7 days.  He’s still technically in quarantine so I can’t go visit him this weekend.  Lame.  Lucky for him, he is pretty much immune to viruses because he has Reiter’s syndrome, which makes him have rashes and arthritis instead of the flu when he gets sick.  But still, being trapped in jail with people with something as horrifying sounding as “swine flu” to someone who is kosher is pretty close to a living hell.  And the no visits thing is retarded, they’re not even contact visits, and you can’t transmit flu through the glass they put them behind or over the phone you have to talk on.

He finally got to speak to his deportation officer today–he had been in ICE detention for more than seven days and no one had yet talked to him about his case.  It was driving us both insane.  The lawyer has been trying to get the people from ICE to talk to her about his case but getting them to talk is a little like pulling teeth.

So because he was able to speak to his officer today, the ball is starting to roll towards getting out.  His travel documents are on the way to his officer from the Turkish consulate.  I booked him a flight for June 15, and tomorrow hopefully we’ll find out if they’re going to accept his travel arrangements.  If we don’t find out tomorrow, we’ll probably have to wait until Monday to hear anything else about his case.

Look to this post for more updates, I’ll be adding them to the bottom.  I’m trying to keep everything on this matter contained to as few posts as possible so you and I both don’t get confused.

Update 6/2/09

When it comes to talking about this situation on here, I go from needing to vent about it to not wanting to talk about it.  A few people commented that we are being really strong and rolling with these unexpected events.  I never thought about it in those terms before they brought it up.  Thanks guys. Life changes, and you never know how or when.  Never once did I think about leaving him just to avoid this situation, although he brought it up a few times.  I can’t imagine my life without him, I even had a really awesome dream about him last night.

Looking up at this post there are a few things that have changed.  First, the quarantine was lifted so I was able to go visit him on Sunday.  Since visiting hours for his unit are only between 8am and 9am I had to leave my house by 5:30am to get there.  In case you don’t know, I live in Austin, and this stupid jail is half way to Mexico.  The visit was okay, it was through glass, and we were both pretty emotional.  I was able to talk to him for almost half an hour though.

Second thing that’s changed, we found out that they are not going to let him use his own ticket, even though when he first got there he was told it was a good idea to book a ticket so that he could get out of there faster.  Fucking liars.  Well there’s 1,300 dollars I can kiss goodbye, at least I’ll get some Travelocity credits and maybe we’ll use them sometime this year.

The best news we’ve gotten so far is that his deportation officer is trying to get him expedited within three weeks, when normal wait time is a few months.  I’m hoping and praying that everything works as planned and he’s going to get out of there as soon as possible.

Trapped in ICE: The Ninth Circle of Hell

May 20, 2009

I haven’t written an update in awhile on this and this.

I learned something new this week, we’re not dealing with the INS, we’re dealing with ICE.  ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  Every time I have to say it to someone it sounds weird coming out of my mouth, so I still call it the INS sometimes.

ICE makes me feel like we’re in Hell, and my husband and I are trapped.  In Dante’s Inferno the final circle of Hell is filled with a lake of ice, not fire.  In the center of the lake, Satan is trapped up to his waist in ice and he claws and flaps his wings trying to get free, but the beating of his wings only makes the icy winds blow harder, the ice will never melt, thus ensuring he will never escape.  You see, in the Inferno Satan is the ultimate prisoner of Hell, not the ruler.

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Dante and Virgil escape by climbing down the ragged fur of Lucifer, passing through the center of the earth, emerging in the other hemisphere just before dawn on Easter Sunday, beneath a sky studded with stars.

I’m not a religious person, I label myself as agnostic and don’t necessarily believe there is a heaven or hell, but I always enjoyed the imagery of Dante’s poems.

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So here’s what’s been going on this week, my man is still in county custody.  It’s been 11 fucking days!  ICE was supposed to pick him up from the county jail within 48 hours of his arrest.  I hired a lawyer yesterday who seems to have experience advocating to ICE on behalf of immigrants.  It is super dangerous in there as he is being held in the felon ward because he’s there on a federal hold.  He has no charges but he’s in a high security ward, does this make sense to anyone else?  Because I’m at a loss.  Since I have a lawyer on ICE’s ass now I’m hoping that he will be moved within the next 48 hours, but if he’s not our next step is to look into filing a writ of Habeas corpus (if you don’t remember from HS government class, that’s protection from unlawful detention).

Unfortunately I learned that we probably won’t be able to make our own travel arrangements if they choose to keep him in ICE custody through the deportation process.  However they have a maximum of three months to deport him otherwise they have to let him go.  Also, once they finally have him in ICE custody the lawyer can go to the ICE judge and file a motion to have grant him supervised release (kinda like getting out on probation) where you have to check in daily, and then we could make our own travel arrangements.  Everything is a huge maybe right now.  I’ve been staying pretty strong so far, but today I was falling apart.  Part of my frustration was the general lack of answers, part of it was lack of sleep, and the other part was an asshole creditor that was harassing me by phone today while I was trying to take a nap.  He called me back three times yelling at me after I hung up on him.  This company trying to collect from me for a few months and is breaking all kinds of laws, but I think that’s a rant I’ll save for another post.

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Update du jour…

Okay so ICE admited to our attorney that they fucked up, so they went and picked him up today from the county jail.  We lobbied for release but ICE has said no for now and has moved him to a facility half way to Mexico.  I’m trying to figure out when I can drive the three hours to go see him, possibly tomorrow, I’m not sure yet.  Hoping for more news tomorrow.

Okay Universe, this joke isn’t funny anymore.

May 11, 2009

Time for a real update on the current situation (<–read if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

Where to start?  I could not sleep at all last night.  I tried but no sleep was achieved.  Finally I gave into my racing thoughts and just stayed up.  I’ve been awake for more than 24 hours at this point, and I’m still tweaking along (all nerves, no drugs, thanks!).  When it was finally 8 o’clock I started calling lawyers.  I spoke to a good Austin one, and based on his friendship with the previous attorney I figured it would be a good fit.  By the way, I figured out that the previous attorney actually did quite a bit, I have roughly 250 pages of legal documents as proof.  From what I can gather from the documents I got from his mom last night and the conversation that I also had this morning with his original attorney, they had appealed the deportation order twice but the last time it was denied.  So the mystery is why didn’t they just deport him after that final decision?  I suppose it’s a good thing, because we wouldn’t have met otherwise, but I’ll count my blessings later.

So I was scheduled to pick his mom up from the mall were she works and take her to see him with me.  He’s only allowed a total of 2 visits a week, but more than one person can come for those visits.  Lawyers can visit whenever.  I tried to find the new lawyer’s office on the way to pick her up so that I could drop off all the documents and he could read them.  I couldn’t find his office, because I had the wrong address, I wrote it down wrong this morning thanks to the blasted sleep deprivation.  I also forgot to bring his number…duhhhh…

I had told hubby to expect us at 1 pm because I figured it would take a while to get downtown.  While were driving down there, he called to warn me against coming if I had any outstanding warrants, something I honestly had not thought about.  He was afraid if I walked into the jail with warrants that would be arrested too!  I honestly had no idea, there were some tickets that I had made payments on a year ago, but haven’t since (being broke as a joke and all…) but I hadn’t received any of those “You Have a Warrant” postcards in the mail.  For the last few months we’ve been getting the same automated message on our house phone that says, “Someone in this household has a urgent court matter to attend to, please call blah blah blah…”  But it never says who it is for.  I know it wasn’t for him because his name isn’t associated with the house or that phone line, so we kinda assumed awhile back that I might have a warrant, but I had completely forgotten until I was on my way to jail.  Also my step-sister is in trouble with the law all the time, and has a huge drug problem.  Even though she hasn’t lived in this house for years, she always lists it her residence.  I wish she would quit it.  I have Constables show up looking for her all the time, so the message could very well be for her also.

Okay so I’m starting to feel disappointed about the possibly of not seeing him today and almost wanted to cry.  No sleep+Disappointment=Bad times.  We get to the downtown jail and his paranoid mom doesn’t want me to go in.  She goes in while I drive around all depressed, waiting for her to call me when she’s done.  She calls me back in two seconds because he was not in that jail, he’s in the one 20 minutes out of town.  He and I probably miss-communicated because it’s so hard to hear anything on those crappy jail lines.  We drive all the way out there, and I’m still feeling the disappointment.  While she goes in to deposit money in his commissary account,  I wait in the car again, and then I realize she’s got gold!  She picked up a map at the last jail with the jail/warrant hotline on it!  Score one for crazy mom.  All I have to do is call and type in my DL number to find out if I have any outstanding warrants.  I type in my numbers, but it gives me this cryptic message, “This record was not found.”  Wha?  Does this mean you can’t find record of ME or record of a WARRANT?  Thanks non-specific automated lady, I hate you.  That’s all it says.  I call back to try to talk to an operator, it won’t connect me.  I’ve got ten minutes to figure this out so I can sign in with her.  We have to go in together, otherwise if we go separate it will count as his two visits for the week instead of just one.  They only let people in at hour intervals so unless we wanted to wait around for an extra hour in the skanky jail waiting room, the clock was ticking.  She’s still trying to talk me out of taking the risk, but there’s no stopping me. The message didn’t say yes or no, but more importantly it didn’t say YES.  I would risk anything for my man so I boldly walk up to the counter and hand my ID over to be fed into the system.  Shoo, nothing came up.  Huge relief!  Then we wait…and wait and wait and wait.  Apparently while we were checking in there was a riot in one of the units, a few people got stabbed, and the jail is in lock down.  The second of relief was gone and the worry was back…please not my baby, please god please…  We got to the jail at 1:30 and we weren’t able to see him until 4.  Luckily the riot was not in his unit.  They finally let us into the visitation room, and there’s rows and rows of inmates behind glass.  They almost looked like animals in a twisted zoo display.  We had to walk up and down the rows until we found him…and oh what a glorious sight!  I can’t even remember the conversation, he looks skinner, and says he’s not eating.  The haven’t provided him with any pork-free meals anyway.  I just keep telling him to take care of himself.  He gets along with his cell-mate, a Moroccan.  So that’s good news.  The 20 minutes goes by too fast.

We leave, both feeling a little more at ease.  She want to go straight to her house because the AT&T guy is supposed be there to fix her internet.  I decide to be nice and do it, I take her home, no one is there nor has anyone shown up.  I am so damn tired.  She gets on the phone with them to bitch them out for standing her up and she’s on hold for almost 30 minutes.  As soon as she is done I’m hustling her out the door because I’m eager to take her to her car at the mall, and go home so I can eat, call the lawyer and receive calls from the jail.  That’s all my frantic mind can think about.  We go outside AND MY CAR IS GONE.  Yeah, just when I thought things couldn’t get worse.  There are no towing signs in sight, none.  So I start freaking out thinking maybe the car was stolen (with my purse and all the 200+ pages of court documents in it).  His mom however, is sure the car was towed and she is pissed!  We march all the way up to the front of the apartment complex to find the ONE sign that is posted.  She calls them and screams at them.  Go crazy mom!  Get’em.  I call my mom so she can get the title paperwork and drive us to the tow yard.  It’s in the middle of nowhere, like all good towing yards are.  At the yard, she does more screaming and the guy behind the blurry window just tells her to shut up.  196.90 dollars later I have my car back.  Crazy mom felt so bad about my car getting towed that she paid for it.  Phew.  She’s not really crazy like annoying crazy (well, once in a while) more like foreign crazy, which I can get a long with.  My husband is foreign crazy too, and I love it.  Gee, wonder where he got it from…

So then I drop her at her car, and then rush home to hopefully catch a call from my love.  I also call the lawyer and explain to him why I was not able to drop off the court papers today, and he agrees I had a crazy day.  He’s planning on going to visit him on Wednesday.  Hubby heard through the jail grapevine that I could possibly visit with the lawyer and, since lawyer visits don’t count against his two visit quota I could sneak in an extra visit.  Also lawyers and prisoners meet face to face and are even allowed contact.  I might be able to hug him!!  Oh a girl can dream…

Last weekend was the longest of my life and monday felt even longer….I honestly can’t believe I’m still awake!  I just did the math and it’s actually been 36 hours since I last slept.  I new record for me…yay?

Mini-Update:

5/15/09

I did not end up hiring the lawyer that I spoke of in this post.  He was very nice and very experienced but he didn’t have much experience in speeding up deportation.  He flatly told me I’d be wasting money on him.  So I have found another lawyer who I will meet with on Monday, I haven’t talked to her on the phone yet, but her legal assistant already sounded much more knowledgeable on the topic and answered some questions.  I’m going to push the INS as hard as I can to get him the hell out of there, then once we’re gone I’m going to sue the shit out of the INS for fucking up my business.  I’m not even kidding.  He’s been in county custody officially for a week now for NO REASON.  The lawyers are telling me he’s not supposed to be in there.  We’re both really frustrated, yesterday was a bad day.  I just try to keep us both calm, and him safe.

His mom got some good news from the Turkish Consulate, they said he doesn’t need a passport to come back, they can give him special travel documents as soon as the INS requests them.  Then we’re going to push the INS to allow us to make our own travel arrangements (meaning, book and pay for our own tickets, including one for the officer that has to escort him to the last connecting flight to Turkey).  It’ll be expensive but family is chipping in, so we can manage.  If this option works as planned, I might be able to fly with him!!  And then we’re free…

More updates later, ya’ll.

Life takes a 180

May 9, 2009

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