Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Reason

I've been on a sort of high all week, and I've barely slept. I find myself smiling for no reason at all. I still can't believe that in a few short months my husband will be home and we will be able to finally pick up where things left off two years ago. I had begun to lose hope in the last month or so. I reached a point of such desperation that I began telling everyone that I didn't think my husband would ever come home again. This approval came just when I needed it the most, and I'm so thankful for it.

Many people have asked me why my husband couldn't return to the U.S. or why was it taking so long. Others treated me as if I had done something wrong. I must have done something wrong if I, a U.S. citizen, couldn't get my spouse status in this country. Those words hurt the most because what people don't know is that I have been fighting for him for over six(6) years.

I cannot give you the entire history of what happened to him in Algeria, beginning in 1991, or what happened after he left in 1995. I can tell you that he entered the U.S. in 1999 with fraudulent documents in order to apply for political asylum. He applied for asylum within a number of months, was granted legal work authorization, and his case continued for 5 years.

We married in 2002 while his asylum was pending and I filed a petition for alien relative in February 2003. In June 2005 his asylum was denied and we appealed to the Bureau of Immigration Appeals. While that appeal was pending, our alien relative petition was approved 2.5 years after filing. Because of the type of visa he used to enter the country, he was not allowed to adjust status here to get his green card.

In late 2005 his appeal was denied, and we prepared for filing with the 8th circuit federal court of appeals. We went on with our lives. My husband continuted working legally and I graduated from college. I began working and three months later, while our 8th circuit appeal was pending, we received a notice to appear at the local immigration office. I'd written about this experience before so I will not go into details here, but that day my husband was taken into custody of immigration officials. He spent 106 days in a county jail before ultimately being sent back to Algeria.

This is where things really become complicated. Upon his departure from the U.S., he received a lifetime inadmissibility for his fraudulent entry. Had his asylum been approved, this would have been forgiven. It's a common form of entry for those who fear for their lives because they have no other way. This meant that he was banned from the U.S. for life.

In the first months of his detention/removal, we were preparing for our interview at the U.S. embassy in Algeria. For nearly a year our interview was not scheduled because he had difficulty obtaining a police clearance certificate. We finally received that certificate when I was in Algeria visiting him for the first time last year, and his interview was scheduled for July 12, 2008.

At his interview, when most intending immigrants would be issued a visa, he was denied because of his lifetime inadmissibility. We were already aware that this would happen and prepared to file to waive his inadmissibilities. One for the fraudulent entry/visa overstay and another for the deportation. We turned in a 100+ page packet prepared by our lawyer outlining the extreme hardship we would face if my husband were not allowed to re-enter the country. One would think it only makes sense that a married couple would need to live together but that is not the case.

The paperwork was turned in that day in July and forwarded over to the Department of Homeland Security in Rome. It took 3 months for his paperwork to be forwarded because of lengthy background checks. It was received in Rome in October 2008 and we began to wait again.

Finally, just his week, we were notified that we had been approved. Most people have absolutely no understanding of the complexities of immigration law in this country. A great injustice has been done to my family in the last two years, but thankfully this is almost behind us now. My husband can return to being a husband again. He can return to taking care of his son who needs him greatly. Abdu will never have to be in the hospital again without his father by his side. We will be a family again.

I urge you all to please consider supporting American families United to help others in similar situations.


Blogger iMuslimah said...

Alhamdulillah and Mabrouk sister!!! I am happy to hear your family will be whole again. Im so happy for your son.

Your patience and hardship inspires me to be more patient and understanding.

InshaAllah your hub will be home soon and you can resume your life together.

I dont know how youve coped all this time, working nights, with no sleep.

Barak Allahi Fiki,


4:46 PM  
Blogger Solace In Islam said...

I am so happy for you! I can only imagine what you have gone through! I hope you will continue blogging now that your family will be together again.

4:31 AM  
Anonymous Safiya Outlines said...

Salaam Alaikum,

I am so, so happy for you.

May Allah reunite you all soon.

6:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well you may be wayy to distracted for this--but I was wondering if you would like to participate in this:

1:39 PM  
Blogger The DP said...

macha Allah alhamdoulillah mabrouk etc etc etc
so sick, haven't been reading blogs but this is THRILLING NEWS!
So excited. This is the best thing I have heard all week, thank you for sharing it with us.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As salamalycom sister,

I understand what you have gone through, as my Algerian husband also has immigration problems, albeit for another country, and with consequences which were nowhere near as severe as your husband's case.

However, I remember that the time I spent battling with the immigration authorities was a very stressful and lonely time. I had no one to talk to, as most "friends" I had at that time presumed that my husband had married me for a visa anyway. I'm sure you must have met similar opposition. Well, take comfort in the fact that, with time, you will prove them wrong. My husband is still around now after five years. The "Not Without My Daughter" scenario they all warned me about also did not materialise funnily enough.

Insha'Allah you and your husband will now have a happy future as husband and wife. If your marriage has survived through this, it will survive through lesser struggles also.

Best wishes,


6:59 AM  
Blogger The DP said...

salams again
I just wanted to give a general comment to anyone reading this who isn't into Algeria and might be confused as to why he feared for his life enough to apply for asylum in the 90s but seems to be living ok now in Algeria. Algeria in the 90s was straight up freaking scary, and whatever the UN/US/Algerian authorities say was the amount of people killed, ti was much, much more. Twenty years later, Algeria ain't all cupcakes and rainbows, but one is much less likely to be killed. In Switzerland the same problem happens- people applied for asylum in the 90s, the asylum process dragged on until at the end of it, Algeria turned out to be a safer place. The Swiss situation is a mess but that is another story.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Molly said...

I'm so so so so so happy, I'm almost crying. Really I don't think there are words to tell you how happy I am for you. SubhanAllah.

Mabrook. God bless you and reunite you two as soon as he can fly back. I'm so so happy. So happy.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Fruitful Fusion said...

Assalaamu Alaykum,

Sis, I forgot to link to your blog and I just saw this old post now! MABROOOOOOOK!!! This is great news. Maybe your husband is already with you? Ma sha Allah I'm so happy for you. I am well aware of the situation in Algeria (past and present) and I think it's really good of DP to post that explanation!

2:51 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home