I recently met a young immigrant woman in her mid-twenties who recounted her American experience to me.  I validated most of what she told me via examination of immigration, court, travel, and police documents in her possession.  I was so stunned by her story I was emotionally moved and angered by the injustices she experienced.  Her story needs to be told.  Not sharing her story would be an injustice in itself.       



Clara’s (not real name) American experience commenced when she landed at Chicago’s O’Hare airport almost 5 years ago.  She came to the United States on a K-1 visa (fiancé) accompanied by her soon to be husband.  Her fiancé, an overweight 6’9” tall white male in his late twenties, had gone to Clara’s country to bring her over to the United States.  In contrast, Clara was petite weighing about 100 pounds and stood at no more than 4’11”.  Her long dark hair measuring down to her waist is typical of most young women in her home country. 


Clara hailed from a third world country who Trump would likely classify as a “shithole country”.   She had just graduated from college with a degree in technology when she left her country to come to the United States.  She turned down a job offer from a well-known international shipping company to accept her finance’s marriage proposal.  Clara said that leaving her family, friends, and job opportunity was “a difficult decision” and that she came close to changing her mind while waiting for the international flight at the airport.  But she “took the plunge” in pursuit of the American Dream.  Little did she know the nightmare that was in stored. 


Clara met her American husband on social media during her junior year of college.  Their relationship endured over the next two years via the internet. Before she graduated her fiancé went over to her country to meet her and her parents. After a week’s stay her fiancé came back to the United States with the promise of going back for her.  Arrangements for a K-1 (fiancé) visa for her had been in the works.   A few months later her fiancé went back to Clara’s country and brought her over to the United States with the intent of marrying her within 90 days a K-1 visa requirement.

After landing in Chicago, Clara and her fiancé traveled to San Antonio where her fiancé parents and relatives lived.  They married later and Clara and her husband lived with her in-laws for the next six months.  Clara had no friends or relatives to talk to and her husband objected to her “face timing” with her parents.  Clara felt isolated and disconnected from the rest of her world.   Clara said she never quite understood why her newly husband prohibited her from “face timing” her parents but she felt it was emotional abuse orchestrated by her husband and mother-in-law.   

Clara’s husband got a job transfer and the couple relocated to Arlington, Texas in early 2016.  Clara was six months pregnant and by the summer she gave birth to a baby girl.  Shortly thereafter Clara was diagnosed with postpartum depression and was provided with medication by a physician. Also, by that time Clara’s mother-in-law relocated to Arlington from San Antonio to be close to her newly born granddaughter and her only son.  Clara’s mother-in-law moved into the same apartment complex where Clara, her husband and baby lived.  In fact, the mother-in-law’s apartment unit was a few units away from Clara’s.     


 “He just didn’t like for me to talk to my parents…”


By the spring of 2017, Clara’s mother-in-law moved back to San Antonio.  Clara’s continued communication with her parents was still a hot topic with her husband.  “He just didn’t like for me to talk to my parents”, Clara said.  One-night Clara’s husband did not come home for the night.  The following afternoon when he finally arrived at their apartment a heated argument ensued between the two of them.  Heated words were exchanged, and some pushing occurred.  Clara’s husband came to close proximity of her face and yelled at her.  Clara feeling threatened shoved him back by pushing her hand against his face.  In doing so, her husband’s eye-glasses frame caused a cut to his nose bridge portion of his face.  Clara’s husband called the police and sure enough the police responded.  The two white police officers interviewed both Clara and her husband and then arrested Clara for assault.  She eventually landed at the Tarrant County Jail.


During booking at Tarrant County Jail, Clara was asked her legal status in the United States.  Clara explained to jail personnel that she married an American, and that her husband had submitted the necessary documents to the immigration department to obtain temporary legal status while she awaited her green card.  Jail personnel checked and re-checked with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) database, but no paperwork or application was found.  Clara was totally shocked because her husband previously assured her that he had submitted the necessary documents to immigration.  

Clara was classified an “undocumented immigrant” and an “immigration hold” was placed on her.  Between time spent for the trial and appeal of her assault charge and the “immigration hold”, Clara spent a total of 23 months at the county jail and the detention center in Alvarado, Texas.  Needless to say, during her time in detention her husband filed for divorce.   Being a foreigner with no U.S. residency status, no family, friends, resources, and no legal representation, Clara defaulted in the divorce proceedings and custody of her one-year daughter was granted to her former in-laws.      


A year and month after Clara’s divorce was finalized; Clara managed to post an immigration bond through the help of a caring person.  She still has a deportation hearing pending as of this writing.  Maybe a future writing will provide an update on Clara’s life story.  But in the meantime, suffice to say this story is upsetting to see how white privileged individuals and institutions destroyed a young immigrant’s life.   And it’s not over yet.   


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