Date: Interview Date
To: Consulado de los Estados Unidos
Avenida La Paz
From: mnmaedel (United States citizen by birth)
United States of America
RE: Mr. Mnmaedel
NVC Case No. TGG2009XXXXXX
To Whom It May Concern:
My husband, Mr. Mnmaedel, is applying for an I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility in conjunction with his CR1 Visa Application. He was found inadmissible due to a single entry to the United States without prior authorization, and subsequently living in the United States for more than ten years.
In addition, due to a medical condition of our infant daughter X, I am respectfully requesting an expedition of this waiver application. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Enclosed please find my letter of personal hardship, a list of exhibits documenting my extreme hardship, and the documentation to support this extreme hardship.
United States Consulate
Avenida La Paz
Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (I-601)
Personal Letter of Extreme Hardship
mnmaedel, Qualifying Relative
mr. mnmaedel, Applicant
TGG2009XXXXXX, NVC File Number
Dear Sir or Madam:
My name is mnmaedel. I am submitting this letter of personal extreme hardship on behalf of my husband, mr mnmaedel. Our NVC Case Number is TGG2009XXXXXX. mr mnmaedel and I were married in August of 2008 and have two children together, son 2 and daughter. I also have an older son, son 1, from a previous marriage.
mr mnmaedel has been a stay at home dad since our son 2’s birth. I can not afford daycare costs for our two young children on my salary alone; therefore, we are forced to send them to Honduras with mr mnmaedel. I can not thrive without my husband and children living with me here in the United States. Moving to Honduras is an unfeasible option for me. If mr mnmaedel is not allowed to return to the United States, I will be forced to live here in the United States with my son 1 and continue to support my family, but without my husband and our children. If moving to Honduras were a feasible option for me, I would be able to live with my husband and two youngest children, but I would be forced to relinquish custody of my oldest son and give up my very successful and established career. I am respectfully requesting your consideration of this waiver application; so that we may remain united as a family and live a life together here in the United States and I can live with my husband and all of my children.
Urgent Health Concerns *REQUEST FOR EXPEDITE*
In July of 2009 I was eight months pregnant with daughter. She was diagnosed by sonogram with fetal hydronephrosis in her left kidney . She had an additional ultrasound 48 hours after she was born and has had to take antibiotics since her birth . Hydronephrosis is a swelling of one or both kidneys when too much urine collects in the pelvic area . daughter had to have two additional tests, a Renogram with Lasik and a Voiding Cystourethrogram for girls (VCUG) and was seen by Dr. 1, a pediatric urologist to determine the cause and severity of the swelling . Tests found that the cause was Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction , which means there was an obstruction in the tube from her left kidney to her bladder. Dr. 1 determined that her condition required a surgical procedure called pyeloplasty and on October 28, when she was seven weeks old, daughter underwent surgery . We stayed at Children’s Hospital for 2 days . daughter returned one week after her surgery for a follow up ultrasound and appointment with Dr. 1. Her condition had improved, but it still needs time to heal and completely become like a normal kidney and kidney function. Due to the surgery and daughter’s young age, our family physician, Dr 2, believes it is best for her health and recovery if she is here in the US.  If she is here in the United States, mr mnmaedel needs to also be here to care for her while I am working and supporting my family.
Dr. 1 has requested that daughter return for follow up ultrasounds in 3 months and in 6 months. Both of these appointments will be while daughter is in Honduras with my husband, unless mr. mnmaedel is allowed to return to the United States by February 2010. During the next three months, daughter should also see Dr. 2 for medication, vaccinations and checkups to ensure there are no complications. Her left kidney function could still be at risk if the swelling caused any permanent damage to the kidney. She needs to be here in the United States for continued monitoring and care by her doctors. If mr mnmaedel is not allowed to return and we are forced to leave daughter in Honduras with him, she runs the risk of being exposed to diseases, bacteria and infected water which could be extremely dangerous for her. I will also be unable to breastfeed daughter for an extended amount of time when she goes with mr mnmaedel and he isn’t allowed to return. In daughter’s situation, breastfeeding would offer extraordinary health and immune system benefits for her amidst the health risks she will be exposed to in Honduras. Unfortunately this will not be possible while she and I are separated. I can not maintain my milk supply and even if I could, the special shipping would be too expensive.
I am respectfully requesting an approval and expedition of this waiver application, so that mr mnmaedel can return home to me in the United States with daughter and son 2 as soon as possible. My husband can then care for the children here while I am working and they can be safe from added health risks. Daughter could then continue to receive the medical care advised by her doctors. We have no medical insurance for daughter and presently we have accumulated over $30,000 in medical bills due to this condition and surgery. If mr. mnmaedel were allowed to return to the United States and work evenings or weekends, we would be able to more quickly repay these debts as I will most assuredly not be able to pay them on my salary alone.
Additional Health Concerns
The vaccinations and well baby check-ups that son 2 has had access to in the United States as an infant will not be readily available or affordable for daughter in Honduras. My children could be exposed to dangerous viruses or diseases without prior vaccinations; especially daughter who will be less than 3 months old when she has to move with Mr. Mnmaedel to Honduras. Because of her aforementioned medical issue and surgery, it is very important for daughter to stay healthy while she is recovering to allow her affected kidney and renal system to completely acclimate post surgery.
Mr. Mnmaedel’s family lives about an hour away from a clinic in Choluteca and three hours from a hospital in Tegucigalpa. No one in his family owns a car and they rely on public transportation. This concerns me as it has been reported that clinics in the poorer areas of Honduras are lacking adequate personnel, equipment and medicines . If there were any medical problems with my husband or my children, I fear the costs and travel time could be an aggravating factor in an already potentially dangerous situation.
If I were forced to leave my job and move to Honduras to be with my family and I were to become pregnant again, we would face an even more uncertain situation that could put my own life at risk. With my first and third pregnancies, I developed high blood pressure and was placed on bed rest around 35 weeks. I had to have extra check-ups and tests to ensure my safety and the safety of my babies. I delivered them both 2 and 3 weeks early respectively. This extra care, which I assume I would need, would be hard to access, possibly nonexistent and definitely expensive without my current income and insurance. The high blood pressure that I developed during my pregnancy with daughter has not yet improved and Dr. 2 has prescribed high blood pressure medication for me . I believe the stress of the impending separation from my infant, my son and my husband is a contributing factor to this condition not improving as it did with my first pregnancy.
Finally, Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America with well over 60 percent of its population living in poverty. My mother-in-law’s home lacks modern appliances and indoor plumbing. Water quality and quantity are inadequate and rarely thoroughly disinfected especially in rural areas like his hometown, where she lives . The luxuries that are assumed for good health and sanitation here in hometown for my family; like things as simple as washing and sanitizing baby bottles, do not exist where my husband and young children will be living in Honduras. Their health will be at a much greater risk there than here in the United States.
I share custody of my oldest son, X, with his father. Son 1 has health insurance coverage through his father’s employer without cost to me. I receive single health insurance for myself without cost to me from my employer and I pay roughly $35 a month for my dental insurance premium . Annually, I am offered a chance to purchase comprehensive health and dental insurance for mr. mnmaedel, son 2 and daughter through my employer. Even though my salary is very competitive, the costs are extraordinarily expensive to the employee  and with only one income, we are not able to afford it at this time. We applied in March 2009 for medical assistance from the state to reduce the medical costs for son 2 and daughter, but we were denied. To receive assistance the cost of what one owes must be a higher proportion of income . Due to daughter’s birth I will be on maternity leave from my job for 10 weeks in the fall of 2009, 22 days of which are unpaid. As a result, my income will be reduced by roughly $6000 this school year . We have reapplied for state medical assistance for son 2 and daughter at present, but have not yet been notified of an approval or denial.
Health Care in United States vs. Honduras
Even without comprehensive health insurance for my family here in the United States, our home is 10 minutes from a quality hospital for emergency care or serious medical procedures and a mere 5 minutes to medical and dental clinics where we receive preventive health care, such as vaccinations and check-ups. We have been welcomed regardless of the fact that mr mnmaedel, son 2 and daughter have no insurance and have received excellent care thus far. We currently make monthly payments towards what medical bills we have incurred. I am confident in the health care system here in the United States and feel the care we have received is top-notch. If mr mnmaedel were allowed to live and work in the United States, his additional income would easily provide enough for us to afford family insurance coverage while at the same time repaying the our accumulated MedCredit medical bills .
The infant mortality rate in Honduras is more than four times that of the United States. Approximately 26 out of every 1000 babies die in infancy in Honduras, compared to roughly 6 out of 1000 here in the United States . The World Health Organization reports that some of the most common causes of death for children under five are neonatal causes and preterm birth, serious infections, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal and parasitic diseases, measles and malaria . These represent ailments and diseases that are preventable or treatable here. More recently outbreaks of tuberculosis  and the H1N1 virus  have emerged in Honduras and are adding more risk to the lives of children and those who care for them. I cannot hold the same confidence for the health care system in Honduras as I do here at home in the United States. I fear that mr mnmaedel, our infant’s and our toddler’s health will be compromised if they must live in Honduras instead of here in the United States with son 1 and me.
Family’s Emotional Well-Being
I am truly concerned about my emotional well-being if I am forced to live without my children and husband. I will experience severe emotional stress and am very likely to develop post-partum depression  as a result of daughter and I being separated so soon after her birth. If I develop PPD, my job, my welfare and the welfare of my older son will be at stake. Mother-infant separations often facilitate maternal depression and can create a cycle that increases the likelihood of chronic mental health and emotional issues in a family . son 1, son 2 and daughter will be at an increased risk of developing depression and other emotional issues due to the family stress and being separated from their siblings and a parent. Emotional stress has been linked to illness in children which could affect son 1, son 2 and daughter as they live separated from one another. Finally, mr. mnmaedel and I are also at risk of developing depression or other emotional issues due to our separation. The issues we face mirror issues seen in children and adults going through marital separation or divorce  and are very detrimental psychologically.
I was married to exhusband in 1997 and in November 1999 we had a son, son 1 . In 2001 we separated and later divorced in July 2002 . The divorce was very amicable and we agreed to joint legal and physical custody of son 1. As a result, exhusband and I are equally responsible for one half of Braedy’s living expenses and physically he resides with each of us in our respective homes every other week. In the custody stipulations from our divorce, it states that if one of us moves more than 50 miles away from exhusband’s hometown of city, state, that person would surrender joint custody rights of son 1. In this provision, visitation during son 1’s summer vacation from school would be possible if mutually agreed upon, but the 50/50 arrangement would no longer be in effect . Because of this custody arrangement, I can not in good faith move to Honduras since I would relinquish custody rights of my oldest son . This is not an option. I have a legal and emotional commitment to son 1, which I must honor. mr. mnmaedel, son 1 have built a lasting connection and son 1 is thrilled to have siblings and a stepfather. If his siblings son2 and daughter are forced to stay in Honduras with mr. mnmaedel indefinitely, son 1 will be devastated by the separation. He has already endured the divorce of his parents and I believe this additional emotional stress would be very traumatic for him .
Son 2 and Daughter
My husband mr. mnmaedel is a devoted father and has been the primary caregiver for our children since their births [29-30]. Because our family relies solely on one income, we can not afford the expensive daycare costs in hometown . We have been fortunate that mr. mnmaedel is able to stay at home with our children while I am working. If mr. mnmaedel is not allowed to return to the United States from Honduras, our only alternative is for our two young children to stay with him. This will force me to say goodbye to my husband, infant and toddler and live without them. It will also force my children to live without their mother. This separation is exceedingly difficult for all of us.
Owen will soon be two years old and daughter was born in September 2009. Because of my physical and emotional unavailability for them at their young ages, they are at a much higher risk for many emotional and physiological dangers . Our mother-child separation can lead to long term emotional issues like detachment disorder, chronic stress, separation anxiety, and insufficient bonding. These issues can lead to developmental lags, behavior problems and serious emotional obstacles in the future [33-34].
I met mr. mnmaedel, in August 2006 and we married in August of 2008 [35-36]. He is an intelligent, responsible man and a dedicated father and husband. Mr mnmaedel came to the United States when he was only 17 and never had the opportunity to pursue any education past the 6th grade in Honduras. Despite this lack of formal schooling or ESL classes, mr. mnmaedel is fluent in English and very knowledgeable about many subjects. mr. mnmaedel wants very much to attend college or vocational training. Here in the United States, with me to support him, he can have the opportunities to further his education and together we can make a better future for our family.
mr. mnmaedel is my best friend and the love of my life. He is my chosen partner for life and my main source of emotional support. We made a commitment to live together and raise a family. If he is not allowed to return to the United States it will be virtually impossible for us to honor that commitment.
My family and I have always been very close. We enjoy spending time together and playing music together. I have only one sister and she is one of my best friends. My parents and grandmother are getting older and have health issues. My mother who is 64 may be undergoing back surgery soon and my father, 65, has high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and takes medication for both. It is important to me that mr. mnmaedel and our children are allowed to get to know my family and that my children have to opportunity to grow up near their grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins. Furthermore, in my absence, my sister would be forced to take on the burden of caring for my aging parents and grandmother alone [37-38].
Income and Financial Obligations
My job is the primary source of income for our family. I have been employed by the Independent School District #XXX for over 12 years as a teacher. My continued education, seniority and tenure in this job have allowed me to earn an excellent salary . In addition, in my 15 years of being an educator in the state of state, I have secured substantial retirement and investment funds . These are clear reasons why it is illogical to give up my job to move to Honduras. I would lose the viable income which supports my family, and possibly deplete my retirement funds or at the very least cause them to become stagnate and lose their potential for growth.
mr. mnmaedel and I have many financial obligations and need my income to ensure that these debts are repaid. Our monthly payments include medical costs for mr. mnmaedel, son 2 and daughter, household bills: phone, rent and renter’s insurance, auto loan payment and insurance, school loan payments, and other small payments to retail credit cards . We pay half of the monthly living costs for son 1 in addition to rent, groceries, gas and other standard living expenses. I will also have to send money to Honduras to support mr. mnmaedel, son 2 and daughter when they are in Honduras, as he will still be caring for our children there and will be unable to work. Finally, I will have the added expense of airline tickets to visit mr. mnmaedel and the children in Honduras. Because of the high costs (average $700 per ticket), I may not be able to visit my husband and children very often, further exacerbating our separation . If mr. mnmaedel were allowed to live and work in the United States, his additional income would allow us to pay off our debts more quickly and save money for our future.
I have been a German teacher for 15 years. I hold a teaching license from the State of X for German and English as a Second Language . This license expires every five years and is in a continual state of renewal. In order to renew my license , I must obtain 125 clock hours in several areas germane to education (e.g. technology, mental health, diversity, differentiation, literacy). If my husband were not allowed to return to the United States and I had to visit him and my children during school breaks and vacations, my license could lapse, since the main time I am able to earn the continuing education hours required for renewal is normally during these breaks in our school year.
If I were to give up my job and income, it would be virtually impossible to find equitable employment and income in Honduras. I would first have to acquire a work permit in Honduras and hope that I could find a position in an International (American/German school), as I am fluent in German, but not proficient enough in Spanish to teach in any mainstream public or private school or hold any other position in which fluent Spanish is necessary. The pay for teachers in Honduras is considerably less than in the United States. Most English teachers in Honduras are foreigners that are either volunteers or on 6 month or 10 month contracts. Many said contracts require TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification. I am not TEFL certified and do not have the time or money to seek certification at this time . If I were to somehow obtain a teaching job in Honduras, I doubt any hours spent teaching there would be transferable to my state teaching license renewal requirements and/or retirement funds.
Investment in Career and Community
Since 1988 I have earned a Bachelor’s degree in German Education, a Master’s degree in Education and an additional teaching licensure in English as a Second Language [46- 48]. Currently I have accumulated approximately $39,000 in loans for my education . This is a hefty sum, but I feel it is an investment in me and my career  and has allowed for continued increases in my salary over the years. My education is what has allowed me to be successful and it is critical that I keep my job so that I may more easily repay my school loans. If I were forced to give up my career in order to move Honduras to live with my husband and two youngest children, the loss of my current position, seniority, salary, tenure and retirement would truly devastate the financial stability of my family.
In addition to the financial investment in my career, I have also made a personal investment in and commitment to the school district in hometown and its community. First of all, in the 12 years I have worked for this school district I have been involved in many settings outside of the classroom, like World Language and English Language Learning curriculum writing and review committees, teacher contract negotiations and I have coached and advised student teams, groups and clubs. I have co-advised a Latin Dance Club for fours years which has helped bridge the gap between mainstream and Latin groups in our high schools . I have also coordinated five successful German student exchange programs since 2000 . These exchanges are labor intensive endeavors which are very close to my heart. I would be greatly saddened if forced to give up these exchanges. I truly believe it would also be a detriment to the school’s German language program and the rich German history and heritage of the hometown community .
Finally, I am an excellent educator. I am dedicated to my students, my school and my profession. If mr. mnmaedel were not allowed to return to the United States and I were forced to give up my career to be with my family, the programs I have helped build would cease to exist here in hometown [54-55].
Opportunities in the United States vs. Honduras
I have been lucky enough to have had a rich education in my life thus far. I have attended 3 universities, studied abroad in Germany, attended workshops and seminars and have taken many enrichment courses in various areas like history, dance, language, and art. I have had and will always have many opportunities to expand my knowledge base, which is one of my favorite things about being a citizen of the United States. I love learning and feel it is vital to a fulfilling life. mr. mnmaedel and I firmly believe that education is imperative for achievement in life. We want our children to have quality educational experiences and know the value of education and intercultural understanding. In the United States our children will have a plethora of educational opportunities available to them. They may attend public school at no cost here in hometown and receive an excellent education . Here, son and daughter will easily be able to access travel and study abroad programs, to attend a trade school, college or university, to participate in extracurricular activities and sports, to attend music and/or dance training, and to learn second and third languages.
mr. mnmaedel and I use our home computer on a daily basis. Computer proficiency is pivotal to my work at school. In city, there are often intermittent electricity outages and therefore internet service, which would make it difficult for mr. mnmaedel and me to communicate easily while we are separated. Our children would have very little opportunity to become proficient with computers and technology as part of their education in Honduras, which is fundamental for children educated in the United States.
If our children are forced to live in Honduras for an extended period of their lives, they will simply not have comparable educational opportunities . In order to get somewhat of a similar education in Honduras, our children would have to attend a private international school. In the rural area in which mr. mnmaedel’s family lives, there are no such schools. The closest international school is three hours away in Tegucigalpa. Transportation would be an obstacle and tuition is very expensive . My salary would not be enough to pay tuition, in addition to our other monthly costs. Therefore, it would not be possible for our children to attend such a school
Political Unrest in Honduras
Because of the ousting of then President Manuel Zelaya in June 2009, the political and security situation in Honduras have been turbulent and unpredictable . Since this happened, riots, political demonstrations and clashes between Zelaya supporters and the enthusiasts for the interim government are common occurrences . Civil liberties of citizens have been impinged. At the moment there seems no real end in sight, only hope of a new election to be held in November 2009. The United States Department of State has issued travel alerts for Americans traveling to Honduras [61-62] and has also revoked diplomatic visas . Most recently the United States has halted all aid to Honduras calling for Zelaya’s return to power . These are strong indicators of the existing stressful relations between the United States and Honduras. There is an elevated danger for United States citizens traveling and residing in Honduras due to this political unrest. Much of the conflict is centered in Tegucigalpa, which is only three hours away from where mr. mnmaedel’s family resides. I fear for the safety of my husband and our children during this unstable time and worry for their quality of life there. I also fear the possibility for even more prolonged separation from my family if this political situation is not resolved or if it worsens.
I have traveled to many foreign destinations in my life, some safer than others, but I have only been to Honduras once. I have only heard stories from my husband and his family in addition to reading and researching a great deal about the crime rate and conditions in Honduras. United States citizens are often the victims of robberies, kidnappings and other crimes in Honduras. The murder rate is very high and gang violence is at an all time high. Corruption among police is also rampant, which leads to low apprehension and a low conviction rate of criminals . Most criminal investigations remain unsolved. The police have the skills to address the violence and crime, but unfortunately they lack the manpower, training, equipment and resources to adequately control it and motivation remains low . I am fearful and anxious about my family’s safety, since my children are United States citizens.
If it were only me having to move to Honduras with mr. mnmaedel I would feel a bit more at ease. However, in our situation, as I am not able to leave my son and job in the United States, I am faced with sending my two youngest children and my husband away to Honduras and I am thousands of miles away. I think any parent, who were forced to send his or her children to a poverty-stricken, violence and crime ridden country would be equally as distraught and apprehensive. mr. mnmaedel’s father, X, was murdered by gunshot in his home in 2004. Although his family feels they knew exactly who was responsible, they never reported the crime. There were never any charges filed as they couldn’t afford a lawyer to represent them and they were certain no conviction would come from it. There is still much tension between my husband’s family and the family of the suspected murderer. mr. mnmaedel’s family has received death threats since his father’s death. With this in mind, the safest place for my husband and our children is with me in the United States.
I sincerely thank you for your time in reading this letter and considering mr. mnmaedel’s case. Please allow my husband to return to the United States as soon as possible, so that I may be united with him and my children. Please allow us to live together as a family should in the United States. I am a proud United States citizen and a contributing member of my community and country. I have no doubt that my husband will be too if given the opportunity.
Exhibits Documenting Extreme Hardship
I-601 Waiver of Inadmissibility Application
NVC Case Number TGG2009XXXXXX
Urgent Health Concerns * EVIDENCE FOR REQUEST FOR EXPEDITION*
[Exhibit 1] Sonogram results 7/31/09, diagnosis: fetal hydronephrosis left kidney
[Exhibit 2] Invoice for additional sonogram 09/09/09 and receipts for prescribed antibiotics beginning 9/10/09,
[Exhibit 3] Children’s Hospital Boston: Explanation of Hydronephrosis
[Exhibit 4] Information about tests, Renogram and Voiding Cystourethrogram for Girls (VCUG) and radiology
invoice from Children’s Hospital Minneapolis, 10/15/09
[Exhibit 5] Children’s Hospital Boston: Explanation of Ureterpelvic Junction (UPJ) Obstruction
[Exhibit 6] Instructions for Surgical Patients from Pediatric Urology Associates, P.A., Information on Pyeloplasty
[Exhibit 7] Metropolitan Anesthesia Network, LLP, Children’s Hospital Minneapolis and Pediatric Associates
P.A: Invoices for surgery and hospital stay
[Exhibit 8] Letter from Dr. X MD, family physician
Additional Health Concerns
[Exhibit 9] US Library of Congress, Honduras HEALTH Report
[Exhibit 10] Note from primary physician Dr. X regarding bedrest and high blood pressure medicine
[Exhibit 11] Water for People: Honduras
[Exhibit 12] Copies of Health Partners medical and Delta Dental insurance cards and MedCredit account
[Exhibit 13] Teachers 2009-10 Premiums for Health Partners and Delta Dental
[Exhibit 14] Denial notification letters from X County Social Services and XCare
for medical assistance for son
[Exhibit 15] Email from X, Human Resources, X
Explanation of my 2009-10 income after unpaid bedrest and maternity leave
Health Care in United States vs. Honduras
[Exhibit 16] Current statement for MedCredit account: medical costs for family
[Exhibit 17] CIA The World Factbook: Honduras, Infant Mortality and Infectious Diseases Information
[Exhibit 18] World Health Organization: Country Factsheet 2006 Honduras, Mortality Profile
[Exhibit 19] United States Agency of International Development: Honduras, Tuberculosis Profile
[Exhibit 20] United States Department of State: Update on H1N1 Flu Outbreak, Honduras
Family’s Emotional Well-Being
[Exhibit 21] The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine: Postpartum Depression Screening:
Importance, Methods, Barriers, and Recommendations for Practice, pp. 280-281
[Exhibit 22] California Institute of Mental Health UPDATE: Mother-Infant Relationships and Early Childhood /
Family Mental Health, pp.1-6
[Exhibit 23] Canadian Paediatric Society, Promoting mental health for children of separating parents
[Exhibit 24] Copy of Birth Certificate X
[Exhibit 25] Divorce Decree, Page 1, Filing
[Exhibit 26] Divorce Decree, Page 8 j, Custody stipulations
[Exhibit 27] Letter from exhusband about custody
[Exhibit 28] Pictures of X with his dad, X, X & X
Owen and Sara Lagos
[Exhibit 29] Picture and copy of Birth Certificate X
[Exhibit 30] Picture and copy Birth Certificate X
[Exhibit 31] Daycare Estimate 8/10/09 – New Horizon Academy in X
[Exhibit 32] Society for Research in Child Development, summary, The effects of mother's physical and
emotional unavailability on emotion regulation.
[Exhibit 33] Facts and myths regarding children in absent-mother situations, with bibliography
[Exhibit 34] University of Miami School of Medicine, Addressing Immigration-Related Separations in Hispanic
Families with a Behavioral-Problem Adolescent, page 4
[Exhibit 35] Copy of marriage certificate, X and X
[Exhibit 36] Pictures of our wedding ceremony and other photos throughout our relationship
[Exhibit 37] Letter from X, my mother
[Exhibit 38] Pictures of family and one of our CD covers
Income and Financial Obligations
[Exhibit 39] Salary Schedule for 2008-2009 school year
[Exhibit 40] Retirement Fund Statements:
X Teacher Retirement Association, AXA Equitable 403b Accounts
[Exhibit 41] Recent statements for monthly bills: Sprint, State Farm Insurance, Dell Financial,
Nordstrom, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Wachovia Dealer Services
[Exhibit 42] Estimated flight X to Tegucigalpa during school vacations:
Christmas 2009, Spring Break 2010, and Summer 2010
[Exhibit 43] Copy of state Teaching License
[Exhibit 44] Requirements to renew teaching license
[Exhibit 45] Teaching English in Honduras with TEFL Certification information
Investment in Career and Community
[Exhibit 46] Transcript from X University
[Exhibit 47] Transcript from X University
[Exhibit 48] Transcript from X University
[Exhibit 49] Student loan summary from Federal Student Aid & National Student Loan Data System
[Exhibit 50] X Employee Education Record
[Exhibit 51] Letter from X, ELL teacher and Co-advisor, articles and pictures of Latin Dance Club
[Exhibit 52] Letter from X, German Teacher, pictures from German exchanges
[Exhibit 53] Personal letter from colleague: X, German Teacher
[Exhibit 54] Personal letter from colleague and friend: X, Language Arts Teacher
[Exhibit 55] Personal letter from immediate supervisor: X, ELL Coordinator
Opportunities in the United States vs. Honduras
[Exhibit 56] X: 2008-09 Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student
Achievement, pp. 1, 3-7
[Exhibit 57] United States Library of Congress: Report on Education in Honduras
[Exhibit 58] School and Tuition Information, Discovery International School, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Political Unrest in Honduras
[Exhibit 59] United States Department of State Travel Alert for U.S. citizens traveling to Honduras 7/24/09
[Exhibit 60] US Department of State International Travel Information, Honduras: Country Description, Safety and Security
[Exhibit 61] United States Department of State 2009 Public Announcement,
Continued Political Unrest in Honduras, 18th Update, 8/10/09
[Exhibit 62] United States Department of State 2009 Public Announcements,
Ongoing Political Unrest 9/25/09 and State of Exception Still in Effect 10/8/09
[Exhibit 63] United States Department of State, Statement by Ian Kelly, 7/28/09, Revocation of Diplomatic Visas
[Exhibit 64] United States Department of State, Statement by Ian Kelly, 9/3/09, Statement of Termination of Assistance to Honduras
[Exhibit 65] US Department of State International Travel Information, Honduras: Safety and Security, Crime, Special Circumstances, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
[Exhibit 66] Overseas Security Advisory Council, Honduras 2008 Crime & Safety Report
July 1998 = Mr. mnmaedel EWI (age 17)
Sept 2005 = he asked me to bachata
Dec 2007 = Catrachito born, Owen
Aug 2008 = married
April 2009 = NOA1 for I-130
July 2009 = I-130 Approved (NOA2) & sent to NVC
Aug 2009 = NVC Case# assigned, sent DS-3032
Aug 2009 = paid I-864 AOS fee $70 and sent package to NVC
Sept 2009 = paid IV fee $400 sent DS230 package to NVC
Sept 2009 = Catrachita born, Sarita
Sept 2009 = NVC receives DS-230
Nov 2009 = Papi and babies move to Honduras without mami
Dec 2009 = NVC case complete
Jan 2010 = interview in Tegu
Feb 2010 = Papi y ninos come home!!!!
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
Need help? Start by reading here:
Don't understand the process?
Read this: Help! My foreign spouse or fiance is/was present in the US illegally. What do I do?
Don't understand about 3 year, 10 year & lifetime bans?
Read this: EWI (Entering Without Inspection), Bans and more (Spanish Version Included)
Need an Attorney? Immigration law is federal, and your attorney does not need to be local
Read this: Attorneys recommended by I2US members
Need to write a Hardship Letter for CDJ?
Read this: Examples of CIUDAD JUAREZ Approved Hardship Letters
After you have your greencard:
Remember to keep your address current with USCIS- Online Form Here
Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Legal Permanent Resident
Our timeline (K-3) from 'undocumented' to Legal Permanent Resident! We did it!
*Nothing I say should be considered legal advice. What you are reading in the post above is not legal advice. No one should act upon any information obtained from this site without seeking the opinion of a licensed attorney. Please do not PM me with routine procedure questions- post in the open forum and contribute to our knowledge base.*
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