Last month we asked our Facebook followers to post anonymous responses to some of the things that run through their minds as US citizens with spouses with immigration problems. A screenshot of the post is below.
We selected a few of the shorter quotes and created this video to help educate people and spread the word.
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Below is a list of 89 raw and predominately unedited original quotes that US citizens anonymously submitted through our form September 2019:
We said, "submit real-life thoughts that run through your mind as a US Citizen with spouse with immigration problems."
Will my spouse be arrested in front of our children and friends. Living in fear on a daily basis for years now.
If my husband is deported, how will I support my children? How will my children cope with losing their dad?
Can I even plan for the future when my husband may be deported at any moment?
What will become of our future? Our goals as a family? It seems our future is uncertain... Every day is almost like a gamble. Will he leave for work in the morning & not make it back home?? Just pray to God that one day something will change...it has to.
It’s weird how this becomes normal, our everyday life. When the doorbell rings, we all freeze, and look at each other. I tell the kids to sit down and be quiet and tell my husband to stay in another room. I answer the door. Every time. My husband does not. My kids aren’t allowed to.
Since getting my husband’s final notice of immediate removal proceedings, I go outside first. Whenever we leave the house, I first look out the window, then stand on the porch and scan the street for suspicious cars or people. Then walk down the steps and look back to give my husband the “it’s safe” look.
How will I be able to support my three children alone (emotionally and financially) if my husband were to be deported?
When I don’t hear from him at lunchtime like usual, I think he’s been taken by ICE. I start to form a plan in my head of how I tell the kids and what we do now without him...
How would I be able to explain to my kids they may not ever see their father again if he were to be deported
When we’re driving, and we see cop lights up ahead, I turn down another street and go another way, in case it’s a checkpoint and they take him away from me...
When my husband didn't have the proper paperwork. I never thought of him being caught I just prayed every day to keep him safe from raids. Everything worked out for us but it makes me angry everyone screams for illegal immigrants that have no ties here. Many many citizens are married to an illegal but no one cares if they are torn apart
You feel like your life is on hold. You question everything such as purchasing a home. Or even expanding your family. Mentally it's exhausting with thoughts and “what ifs” , on the outside you might look like a normal person but on the inside it eats away at your mind. Like your mind feels like it can explode.
My husband and I have been married for 6 years. We were told by an immigration attorney that after we were married for 5 years, it would be easier to prove our marriage as legit. We never imagined having this President and the rise of anti-immigrant ideologies and nativism rearing its ugly head. I worry about some racist person hurting him, him getting killed. We have 2 children together and he works hard to make a living for our family. It makes me angry that once we apply for his status to be adjusted, my government could likely say that our marriage isn’t legitimate and order my husband back to Mexico. This administration just scares the crap out of me.
If he has to go out alone, he goes out the back door, just in case, ICE is waiting for him out front..
Will my kids have trouble with their future because we had to move to a different country?
Will my parents die before I can move back home?
Will my kids lose their citizenship because one of their parents wasn't a US citizen and now we live outside of the country? (I know not under current law, but it doesn't seem outside of the realm of possibility with the current changes and threats about birthright citizenship)
Will I be able to get my career back on track now that I have to commute from a different country and my mobility has been completely removed?
Will I ever make friends in my spouse's country? Will it always be so lonely? Will my kids make connections like the ones they had back home? Will they suffer long term effects of being suddenly uprooted during their adolescence and taken from lifelong friends?
Will we ever be able to recover financially since my spouse can no longer earn a living wage (what would be considered a living wage to an American, something that could provide the same standard of living, because in many countries, the "living wage" is a standard of living most Americans wouldn't be comfortable with)?
Why does my government care more about punishing my spouse than about the impact of his deportation on SO many US citizens? (beyond just myself and our kids!)
Will my kids ever really know what it means to be American?
Will my kids ever get to know their grandparents?
Will I make it back before my parents die while I am exiled from my own country?
My biggest fear was that while we lived in Honduras, something would happen to me and then my husband would never be able to adjust his status and our children would be forced to live there with him in extreme poverty until they could take care of themselves or else move back to the US by themselves and live with relatives or friends.
Will I ever be allowed to come home?
Will my children get a good education in a 3rd world country?
Please don't let me die outside of my own country and away from my family. What would we do? How would I ever get my children back to the US in the event of untimely death?
Dream to come back to the US. Waiting an eternity just to receive a waiver, so my wife is granted a visa suffering a 10-year bar....
I’m the sole worker of our household, due to his status he is ineligible to work, ineligible to drive, or have an I.D. All the things I wanted when I was a little girl growing up...to meet the love of my life, get married, get a house, have kids....the simple life, I can’t do any of it. Fear of bringing kids into a situation like this. Financially unstable due to the fact I'm the sole provider. He helps as much as he can around the house but even when I get home to relax, I have to go right back out again for errands or groceries because I’m the only one who can drive. It’s the little things in my life, but also the big things that I have to put on hold due to these laws. I’m tired, but I will never stop fighting because life is too short to give up what I love in the hopes that “maybe” after 10 years I’ll get him back again.
Every morning when I kiss my husband goodbye, I pray he returns from work to his family.
Will a company ever sponsor my husband? Or will he be stuck with being a student all his life so that we can legally stay in the country so our disabled son can benefit from schooling and doctors who can help him thrive?
I'm afraid if he is deported that my service-connected disability will consume me and I'll lose my job because I rely on hin so much that I can't do life without him. I have so much anxiety about being forced to go to his home country because of the lack of opportunity and an increase in violence!
I have children from a previous marriage how do I choose my husband and our children together or our older children that have a different father. I can't take them out of the country.
My life as I know could be over tomorrow! I’m reminded every night how lucky I am when I kiss my husband goodnight. By the Grace of God, we will have another day as a family tomorrow!
Are we ever going to be truly free? Free of peace, free to travel anywhere, free to enjoy life to its fullest potential, free of lying to others why we can't travel together as a family....are we?
What if my husband can't come back to the US what will I do now?
I am an American citizen who has been living in a 3rd world country for the last 5 years since my husband was deported. My husband is an amazing father and husband and the thought of living life without him was unacceptable. However, now that we have made this journey, our parents have missed out on the last 5 years of their grand children's lives. By the time we can possibly come back, my son will be an adult (19) he was 10 when we moved. My other son will be 16. My veteran father is in poor health and has to be near a VA for constant Healthcare. By the time we make it back, he will be unable to enjoy the things in life he had planned to do with his grandkids. It's frustrating and sad. My husband hasn't seen his parents in years because they live in the US. And although they are US citizens(naturalized) because of this irrational dictator we now have as a president, they are terrified to leave the country to come visit us in fear that their citizenship will get revoked. My 14-year-old son is moving to the states to go to highschool. So now we will miss out on our own child's life. Immigrants deal with these heart-wrenching circumstances and worse on a daily basis. As much as my situation hurts, I am still beyond privileged in comparison.
If he doesn't call on his lunch break my day is ruined thinking is that it? Is he gone? Will I ever see him again? or should I call but what if I get him fired? How could I make enough money to cover the bills and our attorney fees? And my whole day is lost to anxiety and what-ifs until he walks through the door ..
You never know the power and importance of stability and freedom until the only life you have ever known has to be abandoned to follow someone who needs you. Deportation suffocates any vision you ever had for your future and replaces it with fear.
What do I tell my 3 US Citizen children when “daddy” never comes home from work?
For 20 years, my marriage is in a constant state of desperation. We so desperately want to be together. We did not want to live with the ominous threat of deportation, so we live separate lives in two countries. The emptiness I feel at night when I sleep alone is horrendous and the only reason we can endure the separation is that we look forward to the moments of being together and because of our strong faith in God. True LOVE is the reason we remain together.
I'm scared to begin the process for my husband all over again. When we went to Ciudad Juarez for his interview he was denied. It was devastating! Ten years out of the country!! What the hell is wrong with our immigration laws! We have three daughters that had no clue what was happening! We did what we had to do and I have no regrets about it! Screw these stupid immigration laws that keep separating families!
Is he calling me to say he won’t make it home tonight?
When he leaves for work every morning, Is this the last time I see him?
Too tired to drive, but I’d rather drive than put him at risk of getting pulled over and taken for something minor.
Will we have to leave our home, my career, my education, to live in another country we are all unfamiliar with?
It has been 13 years since my husband has been deported in 2006. We now have two kids that are 11 and 9 years old. We have been going back and forth to Mexico for the past 12 years. I'm deciding if me and the kids should finally just leave the U.S. and move with him until we get an answer from his immigration case that we started in 2016.
A Mexican immigration official when telling me I qualify for permanent residency actually told me, “Because Mexico believes children need their parents”
Will I ever be able to live in the US again? If that day ever comes, will I still want to?
My life is not normal I feel like I’m the one hiding sometimes. I never plan to have more children. I feel like from day to day I live not knowing if my husband will be here tomorrow. My husband has dreams but is cut short of them. Our lawyer messed up stuff now we live our life wishing it to be different. If he gets deported I will stay here and he will be there, can I be a single mother raising our children? Will I move back around family, away from my husband and our family-- separated forever?
Does my daughter need therapy? Do I?
Doesn’t my daughter have a right to grow up in the United States, go to school in her language and attend a Prom? But we won’t break up our family to do it!
Will I ever get to go "home?" Or will I have to make a new home somewhere that my spouse fled all those years ago because he didn't have a future there? Will I be able to afford to go back home after selling my house and moving and having to now rent because we are still in limbo hoping for a resolution that would allow him to go back to the US. Home prices just keep going up and up back in our home state and we had to sell our home and spend thousands and thousands of dollars to move. I don't think we'll be able to afford to move back to where we're from 😭.
Will our kids all grow up and move back to the US and away from us because that's where they feel that they're truly home? Will we become a second set of grandparents who miss their grandkid's lives because of our broken immigration laws (the first set being my parents because we had to move to a different country when we used to live half an hour away from them!)
What would happen to my kids if I died (crossing the border to work every day, driving thousands of miles a month, having to drive through Tijuana, already been crashed into 3 times in less than a year.) How would they be able to afford college or the private school I'm paying for now? How would they be able to continue with a good future without me? Would my spouse even be able to access any of my life insurance benefits being outside of the US and not a citizen?
What will happen even if my spouse can get a waiver and go back to the US? Could ICE still pick him up again if the policy suddenly changes? Will we have to go through this trauma again? Does anyone else even understand the horror of realizing that your own government can swoop in and whisk your spouse away, and no lawyer or even congressman/senator can do anything to help?
My stepsons haven't been able to get visas. There is grief every day -- every single day -- as we miss their presence in our lives.
I’m constantly in fear that he will get pulled over. Our state used to give non-citizens/non-residents driver licenses. But they ended that many years ago. I worry that he’ll be stopped for any number of reasons (because he has dark brown skin) and that the police officer won’t just write a ticket, they’ll take him to jail and hold him for ICE especially with NC state republicans wanting bill HB370 to become law. Then if he is deported what do we do then? I’m disabled. I don’t speak Spanish-- either do our children. Deporting family men with no serious criminal record other than driving offenses is cruel and infringes upon my right as an American citizen to the pursuit of happiness. This doesn’t make America Great. It just makes racists feel happier.
We live a comfortable life in the suburbs. Most people assume my husband has documents since I am a citizen. Sometimes it feels like we live a double life...we don’t travel by plane, I drive us everywhere, everything is on my name. He drives all over for work but doesn’t have a driver's license. I traveled with our kids to his home country this summer to meet their grandparents. “He can’t go, he has to work,” I lied over and over again. Trying to seem light-hearted. We are not afraid—every day I go over what would happen if he was picked up by ICE, deported, and what our plan would be? We are not afraid but we ARE tired. We have been married for 12 years and there are no loopholes or options for us.
Will I ever be able to stop feeling that panic in the out of my stomach every time I can't get ahold of him? He was deported almost 3 years ago, we've been reunited in his country for a little over a year. I still feel that worry anytime I can't get ahold of him right away. I know logically that ICE can't get him, but with the rampant government corruption and cartel danger in his home country, I can't say the worry is over. It's like reliving the trauma of the deportation over and over anytime he runs out of time on his phone or the cell service is wonky!
Why is the private, for-profit detention system more important than US citizens and their families? That's literally the only benefit of criminalizing immigration violations. It didn't actually change any undocumented immigration. People come because there is work because they see hope in a future. They don't know about the laws. In fact, the change in the laws caused more people to stay in the US who would have gone back and forth in the past. Why is repealing something that punishes US citizens as much as the immigrants so hard? Why are we less important than other groups? Where's our voice?
I love my spouse. Every day is a blessing. We are trying to do things the correct way but they don't give us a chance. The sad thing is... I am a full-blooded Native American! How is it possible that immigrants of this country are trying to keep other immigrants out? Leave my family out of your policial agenda
We live our life pretending that everything is ok. We keep the secret. We look exactly the same as other families, we pay our taxes, we do our best to teach and encourage our children to be the best humans they can be. Very few people know that we live with this secret or the fear of family separation lingering in our lives. There is no line, or law, or waiver, or option available to help us. My children have anxiety, and this world is crazy as it is without having to fear that one day their Dad could be sent to his birth country. What would that mean for our family? I'm terrified because we tried living in my husband's country for 2 years and we couldn't make it money-wise and I almost died while I was there. So we live here and pretend everything is ok.
I'm scared to lose my husband. I worry about him every day. If he doesn't call me to check in during the day my mind automatically thinks the worst. He is an amazing person. Why don't we get a chance? Why can't we take family vacations? Why does he have to break his back everyday for us and have no benefits? Why can't I get him health insurance? What's going to happen when his mom dies and he can't go see her? Why does this administration hate our family so much? I hope with everyone's stories we can get attention. We are US citizens and we are fighting for our families
Why is it SO DAMN hard to fix the ban situation?! Like, bills with "earmarks" and random favors for lobbyists slipped in getting passed all the time! How hard is it to frame our situation in some ultra-patriotic way that won't immediately get shut down by the opposition? Like "Reunite families of US citizens where the family has either had to go into self-exile or is separated or could be separated due to the immigration bans. This will keep American families together, keep tax dollars flowing in from these families and reduce reliance on public services from US citizen spouses and children left behind after deportation." Have some sort of ability to show rehabilitation/parole in place.
—What if my employer knows my husband is here undocumented - would I lose my job? —I’d like to run for office one day in my community but I can’t even fathom that idea as plausible knowing “opposition research” would expose me and label me as a criminal for “harboring” someone who’s undocumented - my husband, the love of my life, and the father of my children. —What if everyone knew about our legal situation? Would they turn us in? Or Would they help us somehow? Too risky to find out. —I worked for a member of Congress and he knows my mixed-status family situation and 10 years later, there is no hope in his eyes or words when he gives an “immigration update” to the community - he looks away to avoid my eyes. It’s heartbreaking. — No way we can travel to go visit family near the CA border because God forbid we are stopped at a random checkpoint. — God, please protect my family. Please help us survive these horrible times. Please keep my family together, God.
Having been forced to leave my country for a minimum of 10 years in order to maintain my family's unity, I spent the following seven years initially scrambling to find a place to settle, close up a residence, find a place for my permanent resident 17 year old stepson to remain and finish his schooling, caretake a 7 year old son who was sent back from Mexico because of danger, find a job, move, send the 7 year old back to Mexico due to the nature of my work and my inability to care for him by myself, gain admission to my new country for my wife and son, adapt to a new culture, progress from temporary resident worker to permanent resident through a bureaucracy , renew the residency and toil to build a new life and begin to put down roots and regain equilibrium. It took most of 7 and a half years. Now, after 8 and a half years away, and reaching that equilibrium, the past year has become a time to take a deep breath and reflect on the ordeal. I have recently come to see my "exile" and the subsequent burdens as being akin to an undesired break up to a long term marriage and all of the tumultuous feelings that would arise from that. I've been finding myself feeling like a spurned lover and that spiteful rejecting lover is my own native country. I feel angry, confused, incredibly sad, embarrassed, relieved and lost. Even to the point that this family that I put my heart and soul into, in order to embrace and unite, MAY not survive the ordeal. We have been incredibly stressed and we're only coming to realize how much so some 8 years later. Should we be unable to navigate our current course, I'll be content that I did all that I could humanly do to meet the challenge with strength, dignity, grace and with the help of some incredible luck along the way. Ultimately though, I have a very bitter taste in my mouth, right now.
I worry about making a decent living here in Mexico and being able to support our kids. I don’t think we will ever be able to move back to the United States, at least not together, and I worry about what will happen as my parents get older. Will I be able to help take care of them? I also worry about not having enough money to travel back home with our growing family. I want my kids to feel a part of where I’m from, but traveling is so expensive. Sometimes I feel trapped.
A car is driving slowly past my house, is it ICE coming to take my husband?
It's hell having a toddler that doesn't understand where daddy is or when we'll see him again. Every morning I'm asked "mama, where daddy?". It breaks my heart and there's nothing I can do.
Will my kids have to finish growing up without their father.
Will my husband die before we see him again?
I may have to self deport not only myself but my children because this country will never change.
I hate when my husband calls me. Whenever my phone rings and I see his name, my heart skips a beat and my mind races. I close my eyes and take a deep breath before I answer. I’m scared to death he’s been pulled over and our detention center nightmare will begin.
Don’t ask don’t tell. It’s incredible to me that practically no one asks about my husband’s immigration story. It’s easy to stay “in the closet” about it. Do they just assume because he’s married to an American white girl that everything is settled? How wrong they are.
When is the right time to tell my son the reality of our situation? I don’t want to rob him of his sense of security. I also don’t want him to feel lied to, when and if the shit hits the fan.
It’s ironic that my love for and curiosity about other cultures has gotten me in a situation where my family as a whole is landlocked. We can’t take a plane, or a train, or a cruise together.
Since we’ve been together my husband has missed his brother’s funeral, his mother’s funeral, and his dad’s funeral. It’s heartbreaking for him to not be there at the end. And it’s such a ridiculous shame our family couldn’t have visited them in their final years.
Will I ever be able to just live in the same country as my husband? He left for his home country 7 years ago for a visa that will probably never be granted. So I travel back and forth to work enough to pay my student loans in the United States. It’s hard to explain our lives to our toddler who likes to ask, “Why?” It’s getting harder to explain why daddy can’t come with us to the United States.
When will I see my family and friends in the US again?
I’ve lived in exile for 5 years and now I wonder whether it is worth returning to the US.
I now see that the United States is not the greatest country in the world.
Will my family ever be whole again? We have been in the VISA process since 2017 and my husband has been gone for almost 7 months.
Will moving to a different country and putting our kids in schools there make us part of the statistics of the US citizens that lose upward economic mobility and the kids that fall behind and have lifelong impacts on their earning potential? Will this mean I have to work until I die because my retirement fund will take a hit from losing my higher wages back home? Will my kids be able to get American jobs if they're educated in a foreign country?