It was 2009 when my then fiance and I decided to leave the USA. We made our decision because we wanted to get married, and have a family, and raise them in the USA. We feared if we stayed, her undocumented status, could land her deported, and when we were to have children, it would be a drastic impact on their lives. We were going to do it the right way. We would leave the country, wait out the 5 year ban, and fight our 10 year ban. It was nighttime in Peru when I got off the plane. It was my first time leaving North America, I was excited, but nervous as well. I spent one month in Peru on that first trip. I hoped to never leave, but health complications forced me back. Asthma landed me in the hospital, the thick unregulated air with dense humidity was not good for me. The doctors in Peru recommended I leave. After many visits to the doctor and chest x-rays, I knew it was time to go. My money had dried up, and my health was only getting worse. We spent the next year apart. Saving money for our wedding. In 2011, we were happily married in Peru. We were happily pregnant too, although the insufficient healthcare in Peru would change that. It was 2 and a half months into the pregnancy when I got a phone call from a number in Peru. I picked it up, knowing something was wrong. It was my wife, she was in the hospital. The baby was fighting hematoma, and we had been paying tooth and nail for weekly sonograms. Which later was revealed to us, as one of the reasons the baby died. It was a rough year for us, but we fought through. Living 3,000 miles apart can wear on any relationship. We worked hard at making sure we devoted time to each other whenever we could have it. One year after our wedding, we took our honeymoon. We went to Machu Picchu and the beautiful Peruvian mountainside. It was magical to spend time together. We average 4-12 weeks a year together. The rest of the time I work in the Film and Television industry in New York City. We were lucky to get pregnant the first time, but unlucky to have lost the baby. And 2012, was a repeat, except this time, we were lucky! In September 2012, our daughter Isabelle was born. It was a magical moment for both us. We were blessed and lucky enough to have our beautiful little girl. As with all babies, they take traits of their parents, and our little girl, whose working towards 5 months, has asthma and allergies to the air in Peru, just like her father. She has spent the past 2 weeks going to the hospital 3 times a day to get a nebuilzer treatment. It was Monday this week, when we learned of a framework for immigration reform. It said that immigrants who were in this country illegally, could stay by passing certain bounds. The ones who left or were deported, they have to pay the full penalty as it currently stands. Whats to say that people aren't going to make a mad dash for the border to get their one time reprieve? Why should my wife and myself wait 2 to 7 more years to live together, when we could sneak in and get pay a fine and move forward? Officials need to realize, if they put a bill into place that lacks provisions for families who are separated, there will be a massive influx before they can strengthen border patrol as their plan outlines. While I know we won't make a run for the border, its easy to see why one would. So many families are living with their children growing up to a single parent, even though mom and dad and happily married and would want nothing more than to share their time together. My daughter looks up over her crib to see our wedding photos and pictures of her dad, she smiles and laughs. She knows who she loves, but her attitude shifts drastically when I am not around. Last time I left, I held her in my arms, she knew what was going on. She may only be a few months old, but she knew when mommy and daddy take her to the loud place early in the morning, daddy is going away. For the next week she would not let anyone hold her, except for her mother. Clearly there is an impact on a child thats only a few months old. Its not the way it should be. An American child, is living in a foreign country, suffering from asthma due to the climate, and living away from her American father. It all seems a little off in my opinion. My fathers side of the family dates back to 1638, when it settled in Dutchess County New York. They were fleeing their country for the freedom to raise their children in any way they saw fit. I stand here 375 years later, and I dont have the right to do that myself. Something seems unfair and wrong about that. Its a simple thing that I ask of congressmen, senators, and the president. That simple thing is reuniting families, no matter what previous immigration law they had broken. If they are not a threat to the country, for any other reason than they came here without permission, then they should be allowed to apply to come back, with no bars. What makes this even more logical, is the fact that I love my family, and we want more children. With that, more than 50% of all of my paychecks leave the american economy, and lands in the peruvian economy. I know I am not the only person sending money to their family, that the government won't allow to re-enter. My childrens clothing, food, diapers, toys, and housing is all purchased outside of this country. Not because I prefer it, but because I don't have my family with me. Imagine what the case would be, if I spent all of my money here, instead of there? Sure, the amount of money I would put into our economy, versus a foreign economy, wouldn't pull us out of the recession, but its one easy step, and its not asking that much of the american people, to reunite me and my family. It is a no brainer, that immigration reform should include a provision, waiving previous bans on undocumented immigrants. Give everybody a clean start, not just the people who kept themselves in the shadows, or chose not to leave and do it the right way. Let every single american family with a foreign member have a fair chance at living in this country. We are not asking you to open the flood gates, we are asking you to let americans have their families with them, and not have to wait 5 to 10 years to be together. 10 years of families growing in separate countries costs not only time, memory, mental hardship, but it costs the family money to keep up with traveling back and forth, and it costs our economy money as we send it to our families to survive in other countries. Immigration reform means more than rectifying a broken system and getting people out of the shadows. It means letting husband and wife, father and daughter, brother and sister, become reunited. I hope our politicians can find it in their hearts, and their constituents best interest, to reunite those people who are separated by a broken system. Its a pathway to citizenship important? Of course, but whats more important, but talked about much less, is the ancient system of punishing families as a whole, for one members past. If you can look at the picture, and give me one good reason why my daughter, who is an american citizen, should have to live without me, in a foreign country, please do so. I can find no reason, why a previous immigration infraction by her mother, should keep her mother out of this country and in turn, keep her out of this country. Whats most important in immigration reform is keeping american families together. This current immigration system, does not do that, it keeps them apart for far too long. Its time to fix it. Its up to all of us.
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