This letter courtesy of member Viejaloca, I-601 and I-212 waivers approved 2/24/10 through Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Link to the original posted letter
August 17, 2009
Embajada de los Estados Unidos de América
Avenida La Paz
Case Number: TGGXXXXXXXXX
Applicant DOB: XXX
Qualifying Relative: xxxxx
Qualifying Relative DOB: XXX
Dear Sir or Madam,
I, xxxx, a U.S. citizen, respectfully submit this letter and supporting documents as evidence of extreme hardship that I have and will suffer in my husband, xxxxxx’s, absence. Also included is the prospective hardship regarding my other option if this waiver is denied – moving to Honduras. I have written this letter and prepared the evidence included without the aid of an attorney. Also attached behind this letter is a list explaining the evidence enclosed.
When my husband and I were married, we promised to stay together in all situations. Because of this, the time that we have spent separated during this process has become absolutely unbearable for me to take. If this waiver were to be denied, I would feel it necessary to leave my home in Texas to join my husband and reunite our family in Honduras.
A. Our Family Background
When xxxxxx and I met in early summer 2005, we quickly became best friends. Despite our obvious cultural differences, I felt a closeness with xxxxx that I had never found in another person. Eventually what began as a friendship became a much deeper relationship. When we were married I considered what luck I had been given to have found such a kind, compassionate, and giving counterpart for my life. Our son, xxxxxxx was born in (month/year) and seemed like the blessing for our future family life (ex. A.1, p. 1,2).
In September 2007, we received news of the denial of an appeal in my husband’s pre-existing case for asylum. xxxx obeyed the law and consequently bought a plane ticket to leave for Honduras. Our family was separated on October 3, 2007. We had both decided that the only way to live a successful and worry-free life was for him to return to Honduras and to bring him back here legally (ex. A.1, p. 3, 4).
For the past 22 months, my husband’s absence has left me threatened by many unusual and extreme hardships. The hardships I have endured or could endure in leaving the U.S. or living here without my husband merit an approval of this waiver, and of my husband’s return. I deeply appreciate your careful consideration in your review of the following information and supporting evidence.
B. Medical Hardships
I suffer from devastating, ongoing and extreme depression and anxiety, which was first experienced 9 years ago and has been made worse by my husband’s absence (ex. B.1, p. 1-4). This illness has manifested itself in suicide attempts (ex. B.1, p. 19); self-mutilation including cutting, burning, and bruising myself (ex. B.1, p. 5-9); inability to sleep; loss of hope and emotional instability (ex. B.1, p. 10). I was recently hospitalized for 5 days after a particularly bad episode which stemmed from the same problematic symptoms that I have suffered because of XXX’s departure, and I remain heavily medicated to control the symptoms. My mother and 2 brothers also suffer from depression and/or anxiety, which proves that these mental disorders are inescapable for our family (ex. B.1, p. 11, 12). Depression is a disorder I will always have to deal with, but as my personal situation changes my depression will become worse or better, at times seemingly non-existent. It is crucial that I maintain a certain degree of stability in my life in order to ensure my own mental health and remain capable of caring for my son and myself.
The presence of my husband in my life had a major stabilizing effect and caused my symptoms to subside. With his help, I was able to control my depression for nearly two years. Once XXX departed however, the effect of his absence on me was immediate and severe. I began seeing a therapist, XXX in November 2007 (ex. B.1, p. 13-15). We focused on coping strategies with depression and anxiety but after three months of therapy, my symptoms were still present and I was unable to control them. I began suffering from uncontrollable emotional outbursts, spontaneous crying, constant insomnia, and dangerous thoughts. As my condition worsened, I consulted a psychiatrist, Dr. XXX, who diagnosed me as having major depression and ADHD and prescribed prescription medication for both depression and insomnia (ex. B.1, p. 16, 17). This medication is crucial for me to manage the symptoms of my disorders, but does not alleviate them entirely.
By November 2008, my condition had worsened to the point of requiring both medication and bi-weekly therapy sessions (ex. B.1, p. 18-26). Compounding the effects of my existing disorders and my husband’s absence was the added stress of caring for my disabled adult brother (See section C). I began experiencing panic attacks. Suicidal ideation and thoughts of self-injury became frequent. Because of this, I was voluntarily committed for 5 days as a crisis patient at XXX Homes in February 2009 (Ex. B.1, p. 27-31). Since that episode, my medication has been increased to three separate medications, one of which I must take every 12 hours (ex. B.1, p. 32). I remain dependant on medication, frequent therapy sessions and what support my husband can offer through phone calls. At this point, however, my depression is uncontrollable.
If XXX is allowed to return, I have no doubt that his presence will once again prove to have the same stabilizing effect as before he left. If my husband is unable to return to the U.S. to help me with my mental health issues, they will undoubtedly continue to worsen as they have in the 22 months since his departure – time, medication and psychiatric care have not been able to control my symptoms.
Similarly, if I am forced to move to Honduras, although I will have the support of my husband, I will not have access to the medications and therapy sessions, which play a key role in my mental health care. I do not speak Spanish well enough to be able to convey successfully my emotions and problems with a therapist in Honduras. Furthermore, considering the wages we will earn in Honduras, we will barely be able to afford even food – let alone medicine or therapy.
It cannot be argued that the depression and anxiety I experience is much worse and extreme than what is to be expected in a normal family separation, or to a wife whose husband is deported, therefore establishing it as extreme hardship.
C. My Responsibilities To My Disabled Brother
My older brother XXX is a U.S. Army soldier and an Iraq war veteran, serving since April 2005. He suffered a herniated disc in his lower back during a training exercise and was medically discharged in 2009 (ex. C.1, p. 1-5). The injury has left him periodically unable to bend over to put on his shoes, to pick up his child, or to pick up pots and pans. He cannot bear heavy weight, use continuous movement involving twisting his back, and he has problems sitting or standing for long periods of time. Many days he has troubles just sitting to drive and needs assistance (ex. C.1, p. 6-8). Before my brother was discharged I lived with him in order to provide assistance to his needs. He has returned to (State) since his discharge, and I drive an hour to XXX’s house at least four times a week to help him cook, clean, and care for his child while his wife is at work and school (ex. C.1, p. 9, 10). His wife and I share the responsibility of his care – there is no other family member who is able to provide care for him (ex. C.1, p. 11, 12).
I feel an enormous sense of obligation to help care for my brother and moving to Honduras would force me to neglect my responsibility. Were my husband allowed to return, however, we would be able to assist me to care for XXX. This would greatly reduce the stress on me and improve the quality of care I would be able to offer my brother. XXX also plans to provide financially so I can be with my brother.
D. Loss Of Education
My goal is to become a social worker, specializing in cases of child abuse. This career will allow me to provide for my family, make a difference in my community and set a good example for our son xxxxx, encouraging him to someday pursue an education. In June 2007 I enrolled in the well-respected University of XXX education courses and was working toward my goal. I was forced to cancel my classes after my husband left to take on an extra job to care for my son and myself (ex. D.1, p. 1-3). Working two jobs, there is simply no time for me to continue my education. Working only one job, I have no resources with which I could return to school while I am the only source of financial support for my family. I was only able to start college with xxxxxx’s support and my career plans are in effect on hold until he returns. If he is allowed to return to the U.S., he plans to support our family while I return to school to achieve my goals.
E. Loss Of Career Experience
During my education, I had hoped to gain experience by working with children. In March 2007 I began work at a private school called xxxx, as an afternoon teacher in a class for 2-year-olds. Within 2 months I was promoted to the lead morning teacher for this class.
When xxxxx left in October 2007 I was forced to get a second job in order to support my son. I worked 60-80 hours per week - 5 day shifts and 5 night shifts per week. I saw my son only on weekend mornings and on two weekday evenings. Additionally, my depression and anxiety disorders were causing devastating insomnia. This exhaustion not only served to worsen my mental state; it also caused me to fall asleep involuntarily during my work shifts. Although my supervisors were sympathetic, they obviously could not allow me to continue in my position (ex. E.1, p. 1, 2). As a result I lost this excellent experience that would have helped me in my career, discounted childcare that helped me to provide for my son and a job that provided the main income for my family.
F. Conditions In Honduras
If my husband is not allowed to return to the United States, I will be deeply compelled to move my son and myself to Honduras to reunite our family - we cannot endure any more separation. Moving to Honduras, however, is a daunting and often frightening prospect and current conditions have made this a very dangerous choice. Living in Honduras would threaten our lives and safety, limit the access my family and I have to quality healthcare, including the medications I require to control my psychological disorders, limit the educational future for me and my son and end my career goals.
1. Gang Related Violence Specific To The Applicant And His Family
One very clear reason that has kept me from living with my husband and which will cause a major liability to my and my son’s survival in Honduras is xxxxx’s history with the XXXXXXX – the XX. The XX is a gang in Honduras that reigns over poor neighborhoods and male youths (ex. F.1, p. 1-7). From a young age my husband was targeted to be recruited and initiated into the XX, yet he consistently refused.
This gang murdered my husband’s best friend while walking home from school after his brother escaped from the gang. They made numerous phone calls to xxxx’s house, threatening to kill his entire family. They did this because xxxx’s refusal to join the gang was considered to be a direct insult to the leaders. Upon xxxx’s arrival to the U.S., the gang members continued to arrive at his stepmother’s house and throw rocks (ex. F.1, p. 8-24).
Before coming to the U.S. and since returning to Honduras, xxxxx has stayed primarily in his home, avoiding contact with these gang members. xxxxx’s neighborhood is still full with the same gang members, and he has no funds to afford to move to a new city or neighborhood. If xxxxx did have funds to leave his neighborhood, the XX is still a very organized gang that thrives throughout Honduras, and would be able to find my husband wherever he is.
I cannot live in Honduras with my son safely, knowing how vindictive these gang members are, and how my husband has been targeted along with his family. If I have to move to Honduras to be with my husband, I will have to hide in my husband’s house in complete isolation to the world, unable to go outside. I would be noticed easily, even to leave to go to the store with my husband, as I have pale skin and blue eyes. I have no doubt that the XX will find out and that xxxx(son) and I would more likely be targeted for murder, as a “punishment” to my husband for consistently refusing to join this gang.
If it were not xxx(son) and I, my husband is still a target for murder. If xxxx is murdered after I move to Honduras, I would undoubtedly suffer extreme hardship being stranded with no money, no family and a son to care for in a country I do not know how to survive in. If xxxx is murdered while I am still here, I will not be able to recover the reciprocated emotional torture I will experience.
2. Unstable And Dangerous Environment
On June 28, 2009, President Manuel Zelaya was forcefully removed from Honduras when gunmen raided his home at night, and he was put on a plane to Costa Rica. The U.S. Department of State rapidly issued a Travel Alert to all American citizens, advising that travel to Honduras be suspended unless absolutely necessary. As of the day this letter is written, this Travel Alert is still current, expiring on October 20, 2009. The reason is because of the “unstable political and security situation”. The U.S. Embassy for its staff restricts travel within the country to only necessary trips.
Demonstrations are regular, and roadblocks are throughout the country. U.S. citizens are to avoid large gatherings and to not try to pass roadblocks. We are warned that “peaceful demonstrations can turn violent with little or no warning.” (ex. F.2, p. 1)
This matter is a clear example of how unstable the Honduran government is. For cause of instability in the government, this demonstrates the effects in the citizens of Honduras – specifically, how they are likely to react dangerously in times of political unrest. It is therefore expected that probable political turmoil will become an extremely unsafe living situation for American citizens in Honduras.
Honduras is the second-poorest country in Central America and one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, whereas the US has the “largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world” (ex. F.3, p. 5, 11). The unemployment rate in Honduras is an astounding 27.8%, whereas in the U.S., it is only 7.2% (ex. F.3, p. 6, 12). With such a high unemployment rate and an economy in distress, my husband has not always had a job. When he has had a job his pay has been 5500 Lempiras, less than $300 USD per month (ex. F.3, p. 13, 14). I know that in a move to Honduras I would have even more trouble finding work, as I have no experience in the labor force in Honduras. Also, my ability to speak Spanish is not sufficient to successfully obtain a job and communicate with employers or clients. While living standards are obviously lower in Honduras, $300 per month when my husband can find work simply will not suffice for the living cost of three people. In addition to xxxx’s earned wages, I also send him money every month to support him. xxxx can barely survive on the sole $300 or less per month, we obviously cannot as a family of three. We will not be able to survive on this income.
In Honduras, the school life expectancy is 11 years, and the literacy rate is only 80% of the total population; in the U.S., the school life expectancy is 15-16 years and the literacy rate is 99% (ex. F.3, p. 4, 9). One of my personal goals for my son and me is to provide an adequate education. In Honduras an adequate education will only come from expensive private schooling, which we would have no chance of providing considering the monthly pay we would earn. My and xxx’s opportunity of education is exponentially greater here in the U.S. with xxxxxxx’s presence.
My and my son’s health is in great jeopardy in a prospective move to Honduras. The degree of risk of major infectious diseases, including bacterial diarrhea, dengue fever and malaria is high, while health care is not substantial (ex. F.3, p. 2-4). The U.S. Department of State states that facilities, necessary equipment, and supplies are not up to U.S. standards anywhere in Honduras (ex. F.4, p. 15). If xxxx or I were to get sick, as is likely considering the degree of risk, medical attention would be inadequate. Worse, if we were to get in a car accident, also likely and common in Honduras considering travel conditions and lack of road safety in Honduras, xxxx or I would not receive adequate medical attention.
A move to Honduras also opens a realm of safety issues I have never had to experience here. Only 1% of the ethnic group is white, and I have personally experienced an obvious hostility from the locals in my visit last September because of my skin color. My skin color in addition to my being a U.S. Citizen put my life in great risk in Honduras. Kidnapping, theft, rape, and murder are all crimes that are serious problems in Honduras, and they are all crimes that U.S. citizens have been victim of in recent years. Many cases remain unresolved. Armed burglary is a threat at home, driving in a car, walking in the street, night and day. San Pedro Sula and north coast cities, near my husband’s city of El Progreso, have more violent crimes. San Pedro Sula has a higher crime rate than Tegucigalpa. Honduras has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world. Combined with these facts, there are many extreme precautions that an U.S. citizen is advised to take, by the U.S. Department of state, in a trip to Honduras that shows that a U.S. Citizen simply is not safe to live in Honduras (ex. F.4, p. 1-17).
In conclusion, by no standards is Honduras a country I can safely live in. However, I cannot with a clear moral conscience allow my son live without the amazing father that he deserves. This is the life that we would expect in reuniting our family in Honduras if this waiver is denied. A life in Honduras is not what xxxx and I deserve as U.S. citizens, and it would result in a definite and extreme hardship.
G. Financial Hardships To U.S. Citizen Spouse
1. Overall Review – U.S. Citizen Spouse Now Earning Lower Wages Than The Federal Poverty Threshold
While Glen was here, his wages accounted for more than 50% of our total pay. He did everything in his power to support our family, including working 2 jobs consistently. In 2006 my husband earned $xxx, whereas I earned $xxx (ex. G.1, p. 1-4). In 2007 my husband earned $xxx for the nine months that he was here. If he had been able to stay, his prospective income for that year would have been $xxx. My income for 2007 was $xxx; $xxx less than what my husband would have made (ex. G.1, p. 5-11).
In 2006 our combined income was $xxx, which is nearly 200% of the Federal Poverty Threshold for a family of two - our son had not been born yet (ex. G.1, p. 12). In 2007 our combined income was $xxx, and our combined income considering what Glen would have made if he finished out the year here would have been $xxx. This first figure put us at over 175% of the Federal Poverty Threshold for a family of 3 - xxx was born January 2007. The second figure placed us over 200% of the Federal Poverty Threshold (ex. G.1, p. 13).
Now, with these figures in mind, please understand just how drastically my life has changed since xxxx left. My income for 2008 was $xxx. My husband cannot support himself completely in Honduras, and I send him money every two weeks. He was also included on my 2008 tax return, because I support him. My 2008 income was below the Federal Poverty Threshold for a family unit of three (ex. G.1, p. 14-18, 21-32).
Finally, once I lost my job at xxxx my overall income diminished extremely. As of June 7, 2009, my income for 2009 is only $xxx. My prospective income for the entire year is therefore $xxx. This last figure places our family at just over 50% of the 2009 Federal Poverty Guidelines by Department of Health and Human Services – U.S. Census Bureau has not yet come out with the 2009 Poverty Threshold, though they are generally consistent with the guidelines by DHHS (ex. G.1, p. 19, 20).
We are extremely poor. We were not poor before XXX left, and I have never in my life struggled significantly as I am now that XXX has left. I became dependent on XXX and was accustomed to the income he was providing our family. His absence has left me in profound financial instability. If this waiver is approved, his return will furnish our family’s future financial stability.
2. Financial Struggles In Detail
Before my son was born, xxxx and I opened a bank account with over $xxx. While xxx was here we consistently had a very positive balance in the bank, with our savings generally at $xxx-$xxx. In November 2006, nearly a year before Glen left, we had saved over $xxx (ex. G.2, p. 1). In comparison, our bank statement from November 2007 shows our savings at just $xx, after XXX left (ex. G.2, p. 2). In June 2007, we had over $xxx saved (ex. G.2, p. 3). One year later, in 2008 our average is $xx (ex. G.2, p. 4). This continues in 2009, with our current bank statement averaging at $xx (ex. G.2, p. 5). I no longer have any financial security; I cannot depend on having any money in our account. The average available balance I am able to sustain is less than $xx. If something were to happen to my son or I, I have absolutely no resources to draw from.
Please review the following account of expenses paid per month, general to 2009 but specific to 2008:
$xxx-$xxx per month for child care (ex. G.2, p. 6-11)
$xxx-$xxx per month for rent (ex. G.2, p. 12-19)
$xxx per month to support my husband (ex. G.1, p. 21-32)
$xx per month in utilities (ex. G.1, p. 20-22)
$xx per month for my phone bill (ex. G.2, p. 23-25)
$xx or more for gas (ex. G.2, p. 26, 27)
$xx-xx per month in phone cards to speak with my husband (ex. G.2, p. 28, 29)
$xx per month to visit a therapist (in 2009 it is now $xx/month) (ex. G.2, p. 30-35)
$xx in prescriptions. (ex. G.2, p. 36)
$xxx in a visit to a psychiatrist (ex. G.2, p. 36)
In the months paying lesser amounts in childcare and rent this adds up to $xxx/month.
In the months paying higher amounts in childcare and rent this adds up to $xxx/month.
I never imagined that my son and I would struggle as we did. My income for 2008 at $xxx averaged out to $xxx per month. Obviously some months I would make slightly more than other months, but even working 2 jobs for most of the year, I am barely making enough to survive. As for 2009 - I am currently earning even less than I was last year. I know that my economic hardship will continue to worsen if Glen is refused entrance to the U.S., as it has demonstrated to do so from the past two years. I’m just not making it without my husband.
3. Food Stamps
For a while I was able to afford food costs for my son and I, but as previously mentioned I lost my job at xxx, a major source of my income. I then could not even pay for my child’s food. At some points, while I wait for a paycheck, xxx and I have to rely on the generosity of another person to feed us. We have gone through 2-day spans without food. I accepted that I had to apply for food stamps, which was something I had never even thought about while xxx was here. I was ashamed to not be able to provide entirely for my son, but in our situation I literally have no other choice (ex. G.3, p. 1, 2).
H. Loss Of Father To U.S. Citizen Son
xxx has lived without his father at this point for 22 months. He is only 31 months old. Essentially, he does not know the father who loves him. There are so many single parent families who struggle daily for food and resources. This is the life xxx and I live without xxx.
Since xxx left I have studied this subject, and I have learned that future problems and hardships of children and families who have lived in a single-parent household are probable and extensive. Following is a short list of statistics in hardships I expect to occur in my and my son’s life, if this waiver is denied, based on the lowered quality of our lives since xxx has left:
Children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor (U.S. Census Bureau)
A child with a nonresident father is 54% more likely to be poorer than his or her father.
Single mothers are twice as likely as married mothers to experience depression. Single mothers also reported higher levels of stress, fewer contacts with family and friends, less involvement with church or social groups and less overall social support.
A study of 3,400 middle-schoolers indicated that not living with both biological parents quadruples the risk of having an affective disorder.
A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency.
Researchers found strong evidence that father absence has an effect on early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy. Teens without fathers were twice as likely to be involved in early sexual activity and seven times more likely to get pregnant as an adolescent.
Students living in father-absent homes are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school.
Fathers who are involved on a personal level with their child schooling increases the likelihood of their child’s achievement.
Enclosed is a list of these and additional statistics regarding children who grow up without a father. While any of these are likely to apply to xxx and I in the event that xxx doesn’t come back, the statistics I included in this letter are much more likely to apply to us considering my hardship since xxx has left, and my personal history: our poverty, my mental health disorders, my loss of education, and my teenage pregnancy (ex. H.1, p. 1-11). The idea of my son and I facing these additional hardships has greatly increased my depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Though I am in treatment I am unable to cope with the prospect of my son and I struggling in yet another aspect if this waiver is denied.
I. Family Ties
Another reason that keeps me in the U.S. is my family here. Nearly my entire family resides in xxx, Texas, xxxxx, Texas or xxxxx, Texas. The only parts of my family that will remain outside of Texas are my grandparents who live in Ohio, and a cousin who lives in Colorado. Every other parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, and all of their families stay in Texas. For this, we are all very close.
If I were to move to Honduras it would be destructive to my personal relationships, especially between my immediate family and myself. First, because of the deep obligation I feel towards my brother in assisting him in his medical struggles. Second, because xxx and I have an incredible bond with my parents and siblings in xxx. They adore xxx and care for him better than anyone would in Honduras, as there is no one aside from my husband there who is so connected with us. Third and finally, I have absolutely no familial or social ties in Honduras aside from my husband.
If this waiver is denied and I have to leave my home to live with xxx in Honduras, that means I’ll be leaving my family, my peer support group here, to live in a country which I am in no way accustomed to, where I do not know how to get around, and where I know no one. Such isolation will undoubtedly push me further into depression, which I will not be able to overcome. Considering the severity of my mental health disorders, and the lack of adequate health care in Honduras, there is no hope that I could overcome such a devastating separation from my ties to the U.S.
J. A Review Of The Applicant’s History In Honduras And In U.S. Immigration
xxx arrived in the U.S. on March 25, 2005. He was 17 years old. In the period immediately prior to his arrival, xxx was struggling to survive in a neighborhood taken over by a gang, the XX. As a male youth he was targeted in numerous attempts to become a new XX recruit. Upon his refusal to join the gang, he was “punished” by the gang leaders. They stole 4 bicycles from him. They stole the shirt off his back at gunpoint. They threw rocks at his stepmother’s home where he lived and they made threatening phone calls in the middle of the night, claiming they would kill everyone in the house – xxx’s stepmother, half-sister, and xxx. They also murdered xxx’s best friend, xxx, one day that he and xxx did not walk home from school as they normally did.
Because of these circumstances my husband was urged by his stepmother to leave Honduras. xxx was not safe and neither was his family in Honduras. At the time he found no other option than to seek sanction here as a refugee. In the oral decision of the Immigration Judge, it is stated that xxx was found to be a credible witness and his testimony of fears in a return to Honduras was plausible (ex. J.1, p. 3-6). However, xxx was denied status as an asylee when he could not prove eligibility on one of the five protected grounds covered in asylum (ex. J.1, p. 1, 2). He was persecuted and hurt by gangs, but it was determined that the grounds under which he was persecuted were not covered for relief by asylum. He did not have a frivolous or incredible case. My husband, with pure and innocent intention sought freedom from gang violence of his home country (ex. J.1, p. 7-11). Finally, when my husband’s case was dismissed, xxx bought a plane ticket and left on his own behalf (ex. A.1, p. 3, 4).
K. Relevant Legal Precedent
1. Santana-Figueroa vs. INS
In Santana-Figueroa v. INS, Jorge Santana-Figueroa demonstrates that he will suffer extreme hardship in a return to Mexico. His case was proved mainly in economic hardship in a move to Mexico; in this case the petitioner is a 70-year-old man with no skill or education (ex. K.1, p. 1, 2).
While general financial problems and a reduced standard of living are not considered extreme hardship, the U.S. Court of Appeals determines the following, regarding the possibility of the petitioner being without a means to live: “[D]eportation may also result in the loss of all that makes life possible. When an alien would be deprived of the means to survive, or condemned to exist in life-threatening squalor, the “economic” character of the hardship makes it no less severe.”
In comparison to this case, regarding specifically the severity of financial element in my personal hardship, let it be known that my husband’s absence has forced me into poverty. This has been caused only by my husband’s departure. I have suffered an obvious hardship living in poverty and at many times I have been unable to provide basic resources in food and clothes for my son and myself. At times I have only been able to survive in xxx’s absence because of the grace of my friends and family who have taken me into their homes to live; albeit I indeed pay rent, in the past my roommates have allowed me to live in their household for free for 2-3 months while I work for rent money. In the same aspect, if I were to leave the U.S. to live in Honduras I would be subject to this same extreme poverty. My husband simply does not earn enough to provide even basic resources for our family. We would be even worse off in Honduras than we are here. I will be unable to find employment in Honduras due to lack of skill and inability to communicate fluently in Spanish.
Returning to Santana-Figueroa, another aspect of his hardship presented is noneconomic, presented in the form of deprivation of his livelihood by prospectively being uprooted from his home and community, of which he had been part of for over 10 years. Equally, in leaving my home and livelihood in the U.S. I would be subject to the same extreme and undue hardship. I have spent nearly my entire life, more than 20 years in xxx, TX, only leaving for six months to live with my disabled brother. I have suffered from depression for nine years. Although the root in my recent depressive episode, currently running on two years, is triggered by my husband’s absence, reason stands and an elongated history of depression proves that a move to Honduras would be an extreme detriment to my livelihood and mental health. Considering the family and friend ties that would be severed, along with guilt I would subconsciously impose upon myself in leaving my brother in his disabled state, my mental stability would be destroyed.
2. Matter of Mansour
In the Matter of Mansour, the qualifying relative demonstrates extreme hardship in proving that separating from her husband or leaving the U.S. would cause extreme psychological problems, stemming from an existing mental condition. The BIA states as follows, “[E]xceptional hardship…requires a finding that problems exist which would endanger the spouse’s health if separated from applicant or that difficulties incident to her separate maintenance and support would appreciably affect her standard of living and general welfare or bring about abnormal stress and strain.” (ex. K.1, p. 3-5)
In comparison to the qualifying relative, in this case I relate by having an existing mental illness that has greatly endangered my heath in this separation from my husband. Further separation or moving to Honduras would further worsen my condition. It cannot rationally be disputed that the difficulties of being apart from my husband has greatly effected my standard of living, welfare, and has brought on extreme stress and strain to my life.
In Cervantes-Gonzalez, the BIA has set standards in determining extreme hardship. The following factors, paraphrased from the original decision, have been deemed acceptable by the BIA in establishing extreme hardship to a qualifying relative: the presence of U.S. citizen family ties to this country; family ties outside the United States; the conditions of the country to which the qualifying relative would relocate along with the extent of the qualifying relative’s ties to such country; the financial impact of departure from this country; and significant conditions of health, particularly in connection to a lack of suitable medical care in the country where the qualifying relative would relocate (ex. K.1, p. 6, 7).
As previously discussed, all of these factors are relevant and present to my case. In review: I have strong family ties to the U.S., particularly to Texas, where the vast majority of my family resides. I have no ties outside of this country, or to Honduras, except for my husband. I have no chance of surviving or having resources met as needed in Honduras. My mental health will continue to worsen in a move to Honduras, and medical care is not adequate in general and in comparison to what I am accustomed to in the U.S.
L. Favorable Factors And Good Character Of The Applicant
Please consider the following favorable factors of xxx’s history in comparison to aggravating factors related to this case:
• xxx has a U.S. citizen wife and child. (ex. A.1, p. 1, 2)
• Hardship to our family in his absence is obvious and extreme.
• There has been an approved I-130 for xxx, acknowledging the validity of our marriage and our family. (ex. L.1, p. 1)
• Although xxx worked without authorization, he consistently paid taxes to the U.S. government (ex. G.1, p. 1, 2, 5, 6)
• xxx is of good moral character. He never drank, did drugs, smoked, and has never committed a crime in his life, be this in the U.S. or in Honduras. (ex. F.1, p. 17-19, ex. J.1, p. 7-11)
• xxx has a history of responsible parenthood, in supporting his family financially and emotionally.
My husband is an excellent man, father, and husband. He supported us in all situations. Please understand that my husband came originally to the U.S. as a minor fleeing gang violence in Honduras. He was targeted because he refused to join a gang when asked, many times. xxx came here as a refugee, and in the time that his case for asylum case was started, denied, appealed, and finally dismissed – overall, 2 ½ years – we met, married, and had a child together. He is a wonderful man who deserves to be with his family here in Texas.
I have been placed in this stalemate for nearly two years since my husband has left, constantly trying to find a conclusion of what possible options I have in the event that my husband is denied entrance to the U.S. There is no viable option for me. I cannot live here without my husband anymore. I cannot leave the U.S. to live with my husband.
xxx is not only my husband; he’s my best friend. In denying this waiver, I will be forced to live in extreme hardship, exactly as I have for the past 22 months. I respectfully urge you to approve this waiver and return my husband to his family. We cannot live with another option.
I, xxx, swear under the penalty of perjury, under the laws of the United States, that the above letter is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
Explanation of Documents
Please review this explanation of documents in relation to the evidence enclosed. Each exhibit letter reflects a subtitle for each excerpt in the qualifying relative letter. Each exhibit begins with page 1.
A.1 Our Family Background
p. 1 Marriage license
p. 2 xxx’s (son) birth certificate
p. 3 Airline ticket from his departure
p. 4 Notification of Departure from U.S. Embassy in Honduras
B.1 Medical Hardships
p. 1-3 Medical Encyclopedia: Major Depression
p. 4 Medical Encyclopedia: Anxiety
p. 5-9 Photographs of scars caused by self harm, occurring between 08/1999- 09/2004
p. 10 Affidavit of (dad) attesting to my history with depression
p. 11 Statement from Dr. XXX regarding my mother’s history of depression
p. 12 My older brother’s health record with proof of depression
p. 13 My history of counseling with XXX
p. 14, 15 Affidavit of XXX, former counselor, regarding my depression
p. 16 Statement from Dr. XXX regarding my depression and ADD
p. 17 Copy of prescriptions from Dr. XXX for depression and insomnia
p. 18 Affidavit of (brother) regarding my depression
p. 19, 20 Psycho-Social evaluation by XXX Mental Health Center
p. 21, 22 Notes from XXX Center in XXX, TN with proof of medication taken
p. 23, 24 Affidavit of (other former counselor), regarding my depression
p. 25 Staff note from counseling session 01/07/09
p. 26 Staff note from counseling session 01/22/09
p. 27 XXX Center emergency contact form (I2US: this was labeled emergency contact form, but it was an explanation of my admission to the crisis center)
p. 28 Statement from xxx, confirming my stay in crisis placement
p. 29 Case management note regarding crisis placement
p. 30, 31 Respond note regarding crisis placement
p. 32 Original prescriptions from Dr. XXX from XXX Homes, after crisis placement
p. 33 Affidavit of (yet another counselor), counselor, regarding my depression
p. 34-36 Continued prescriptions after returning to Texas
C.1 My Responsibilities To My Disabled Brother
p. 1-3 Medical Encyclopedia: Herniated nucleus pulposus
p. 4 Brother’s L-spine MRI results
p. 5 Medical Discharge Confirmation
p. 6 Brother’s permanent physical profile
p. 7 Brother’s medical evaluation board proceedings
p. 8 Nephew’s birth certificate
p. 9 Brother’s wife’s summer school schedule
p. 10 Brother’s wife’s fall school schedule
p. 11 Brother’s wife’s affidavit to need for in-home assistance
p. 12 Affidavit of (Brother)
D.1 Loss of Education
p. 1 Affidavit of (University employee)
p. 2, 3 E-mail from (University) confirming dropped courses
E.1 Loss of Career Experience
p.1 Affidavit of (Employer)
p.2 Affidavit of (co-worker)
F.1 Gang Related Violence Specific To The Applicant And His Family
**All evidence in this section taken from XXX’s case for asylum**
p. 1-4 Affidavit of XXX regarding gang violence in Honduras
p. 5-7 Affidavit of Rev. XXX regarding gang violence in Honduras
p. 8-10 Excerpt from XXX’s application for asylum
p. 11-16 XXX’s brief as presented to the BIA
p. 17-19 Affidavit of (hubby’s sister) with translation
p. 20-24 XXX’s declaration in support of his asylum case
F.2 Unstable And Dangerous Environment
p.1 Department of Homeland Security: Travel Alert Honduras
F.3 Economy, Education, Health
p. 1-6 CIA World Factbook: Honduras
p. 7-12 CIA World Factbook: United States
p. 13, 14 XXX’s check stubs in Honduras
p. 1-3 U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa: “Information for Travelers: Kidnap Threat and Police Capabilities”
p. 4, 5 U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa: “Information for Travelers: Residential Safety Precautions”
p. 6, 7 U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa: “Information for Travelers: Vehicle Security”
p. 8, 9 U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa: “Information for Travelers: Robbers on Motorcycles”
p. 10, 11 U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa: “Information for Travelers: Street Security”
p. 12 U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa: “Information for Travelers: Personal Security Measures”
p. 13-17 Department of Homeland Security: Honduras
G.1 Overall Review Of Financial Hardship
p. 1, 2 XXX’s 2006 W2s from 2 companies
p. 3, 4 My 2006 tax return form 1040
p. 5, 6 XXX’s 2007 W2s from 2 companies
p. 7, 8 My 2007 tax return form 1040
p. 9-11 My 2007 W2s from 3 companies
p. 12 U.S. Census Bureau – Poverty Threshold 2006
p. 13 U.S. Census Bureau – Poverty Threshold 2007
p. 14, 15 My 2008 tax return form 1040
p. 16, 17 My 2008 W2s from 5 companies
p. 18 U.S. Census Bureau – Poverty Threshold 2008
p. 19 My check stubs from June ‘09
p. 20 Poverty Guidelines for 2009
p. 21-32 Money transfers from me to XXX
G.2 Financial Struggles In Detail
p. 1 Bank Statement November 2006
p. 2 Bank Statement November 2007
p. 3 Bank Statement June 2007
p. 4 Bank Statement May 2008-July 2008
p. 5 Bank Statement May 2009-August 2009
p. 6 Check stub 12/22/2007 showing childcare paid for 2007 to (employer/childcare provider)
p. 7 Personal checks to XXX, additional childcare paid for 2007
p. 8 Check stub 4/12/2008 showing childcare paid for 2008 to (same employer/childcare provider)
p. 9-11 Personal checks to (childcare) and (other childcare) for childcare
p. 12-15 Personal checks to (apt. complex) and (other landlord) for housing rent
p. 16-19 Money orders to (3rd landlord) for housing rent
p. 20-22 Personal checks to (utility provider) for utility bills
p. 23-25 Phone bills
p. 26, 27 Two month example of gasoline bills
p. 28, 29 One month example of phone cards - $5.00 per card
p. 30-35 Receipts from XXX, XXX, XXX (3 different therapists) for therapy
p. 36 Receipt from Dr. XXX for psychiatric care with receipt from prescriptions
G.3 Food Stamps
p. 1 Food Stamp benefits granted in Texas 07/01/2008
p. 1 Food Stamp benefits granted in Kentucky 10/01/2008
H.1 Loss Of Father To U.S. Citizen Son
p. 1-7 National Fatherhood Initiative: Statistics in father absent homes
p. 8-11 Princeton and Brookings: Future of Children, “Why do Single Parent Families put Children at Risk?”
J.1 A review of the Applicant’s History In Honduras And In U.S. Immigration
**All evidence in this section taken from XXX’s case for asylum**
p. 1, 2 Decision from BIA dismissing XXX’s asylum case
p. 3-6 Oral Decision by Immigration Judge
p. 7-11 Affidavit of (hubby’s step-mom) with translation
K.1 Relevant Legal Precedent
p. 1, 2 Santana-Figueroa vs. INS, 644 F.2d 1354; 9th Circuit 1981
p. 3-5 Matter of Mansour, 11 I&N Dec. 306, 307 (BIA 1965)
p. 6, 7 Cervantez-Gonzalez, 22 I&N Dec. 560 (BIA 1999)
L.1 Favorable Factors And Good Character Of The Applicant
p.1 Approved I-130 petition