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Nicole’s story: A father deported, a family separated

Mohamed with his son and daughter

Mohamed with his son and daughter

“As a nation built on immigrants why now do we choose to hate and divide, and ultimately destroy the lives of so many here now?” Nicole’s husband Mohamed was deported to Egypt four years ago for missing a court date. Separated from their husband and father, his wife and four children now struggle to get by without him. How long must we wait until we have an immigration system that keeps families together?

This story is about my husband and our family, but I know and love so many others in similar situations.

My name is Nicole M Jacobson, and I am readily becoming the poster child for bad immigration policies. I married my husband Mohamed back on August 24, 2005, and on November 24th, 2006 gave birth to our daughter Joli.

When I met my husband I knew he some immigration problems, I never thought that these problems would become the hellish nightmare that I live today.

Many times I ask myself, “What did we do wrong” I haven’t killed anyone, or sold drugs, or done anything illegal in fact. The only thing wrong that my husband did was miss a court date, plain and simple.

In fact, the reason my husband missed his court date was due to the court not translating his papers verbally in Arabic as the law states they are supposed to, and he was confused between September and December. But the government refuses to agree that they made a mistake, although my husband had appeared at several court dates prior to the one he missed.

Since we got married, I have tried to no avail to reopen this old case and move on to adjust his status. Every motion, appeal and waiver has been denied for one reason or another. It seems as if the government shows no mercy to us, and to our family.

My husband was deported back to Egypt after voluntarily going to a meeting with ICE. My husband went to this meeting because he was in no way trying to avoid the law or evade the government but just looking for a fair chance to stay here legally with his wife, daughter and three children from his previous marriage. Immigration has made everything we have tried to do impossible.

“Many nights my daughter cries herself to sleep, telling me she won’t be little forever and she wants to sleep in her dad’s arms while she’s still small.”

I filed an I-130 and it was approved, he had an interview in Egypt on April 17th that was approved but of course we needed a waiver to the 10 year bar. This waiver was denied as was our 212 waiver because he missed his court date which apparently in punishable by a 5 year bar that cannot be waived unless you can prove you missed it for a reasonable cause. I feel that we have proven a reasonable cause for missing this court date, yet again the government does not.

When my husband left my daughter was 3, soon she turns 7. This is the most horrible punishment to be separated from someone you love for so long, my whole life has been put on hold, and I don’t even know when I can return to some normalcy because he is not here.

Now, on top of everything else I was in a serious car accident on September 30, 2012. I am suffering from 2 herniated disks and a bulging disk and have a hard time performing daily tasks and need my husband now more than ever.

In these immigration denial letters my daughter, myself and his children are often referred to as “equities.” I am not an equity or property. I am a human being and as such deserved to be treated as one. The treatment of my family by the United States government has been cruel and inhumane at many times.

Deportation of a loved one is a pain I can only imagine is matched by death itself. I seek solace that at least I can talk to him and maybe see him once a year, but there are times when a loved one is needed for support companionship, affection, attention; these things cannot be replaced by the phone. Many nights my daughter cries herself to sleep, telling me she won’t be little forever and she wants to sleep in her dad’s arms while she’s still small.

I am not here to say my husband has not made mistakes, in fact he has. I am saying the punishment is much greater than the crime, that we need to assess the system and the punishments that are affecting the lives of our citizens and our children.

If my husband was to abandon his children and wife voluntarily the government would help me receive financial support from him at the very least and many people in society would look down upon him as a “deadbeat dad,” yet somehow the government feels justified in creating this situation itself.

Immigration often claims family unity is important, yet never backs it up with decisions that show empathy and compassion for the families that are being torn apart, for the children who grow up fatherless or motherless or sometimes worse in foster homes while both parents are deported.

As a nation built on immigrants why now do we choose to hate and divide, and ultimately destroy the lives of so many here now?

-Nicole M.

You can help Jessica and her husband, and hundreds of thousands of families like theirs, by calling 888-787-9658 to speak with your own representative and tell them to support comprehensive reform with a path to citizenship.

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