Everybody on this earth has a story of struggle to tell. Who gets to hear that story is what makes it special. Not everybody goes public about it and sometimes a person’s story never gets told, which is pretty unfortunate. Not too long ago I became acquainted with a 21 year-old who grew up in the US ALL of his life. If I could describe him accurately, he is like the Mexican Bart Simpson but fluent in Spanish and English and his skin is not yellow. We’ll call him Hamilton in order to preserve his anonymity.
The last time I met someone like Hamilton in Mexico, they were on vacation during Spring Break and enjoying the great weather and beaches this country has to offer. Hamilton, however, was on indefinite “vacation”. All his life he lived in the US and was told by his parents he was born in San Diego. When it came time to apply for jobs it didn’t occur to him to ask for his social security card until his job prospect requested it. Like any American kid, you ask your parents for the card and that’s what he did. “Actually, you weren’t born in San Diego. You were born in Tijuana.” That’s how they broke the news to him. No big deal right? His parents are citizens and they can just “sponsor” him and “fix” his legal status. Not exactly.
With the strict immigration laws in place, people like Hamilton, who literally have lived their entire life in the US since they were babies, are struggling to legalize even though their parents are from the US. Why Hamilton’s parents never fully carried out the paperwork to legalize him is still a mystery to him. Perhaps they did process his application but something went wrong along the way. Either way, it’s pretty messed up that it was never settled, and like he put it, “my parents screwed me over.” When they finally did get the paperwork in order and processed his application, he had to go through the US Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. That is proper procedure for Mexican nationals over 18 years old.
To make a long story short, his immigration application was denied because he admitted to experimenting with weed and other substances as a teenager. It has been years since he’s touched any drug and now he has to wait a few years in Mexico before he can prove to them that he is not at risk of becoming a drug addict in the US. Pretty extreme if you ask me, but as everybody knows, governments are no joke. What’s sad is that he is no different than those US born citizens he hung out with (which I’m sure experimented with drugs as well). That is the beauty of birth rights. It takes a lot to put an American in that kind of situation that Hamilton is in. Probably would have to be an exiled American that joined the Taliban and who suddenly had a change of heart and is looking to return to the US.
Moral of the story? If you’re an American and you have your kid outside the US, don’t forget to submit the proper documentation to process your son or daughter’s citizenship before they turn 18 and face an international “time-out” punishment in a country they don’t know.