Young Love, Determined to Fight for the Right to Build A Future Together, Despite DOMA
It will be two years this December since I first met my husband.
I am a 22 year-old American citizen. My husband came to this country from Mexico in search of a better, safer life. For the last year and a half we have been living together as a couple with my grandparents, who are in their eighties. During this time we became very close and decided that we wanted to spend our lives together. A few weeks ago we got married in New York, making my husband now legally a part of my family.
My husband came to the United States alone from a small town in Mexico when he was only 16. He was ridiculed and threatened all his life for being effeminate. Even his own family chided him to act more like a man, like his brothers. He felt tremendous pain and confusion because everywhere he turned he was always treated like there was something wrong with him, something that he couldn’t even control. He felt desperate and had no one to turn to for support. He had no way to survive in Mexico. He was rejected by his family and had no choice but to flee. He could see no future. These were extremely dark days for him.
In December 2009 we met at a restaurant where he was working. We hit it off immediately and began seeing each other every few days. We soon became very close and were spending all our free time together. After just a few weeks though, his brother and cousin, with whom he was living, got suspicious. They asked him why he was spending so much time with another man. He tried to pass me off as nothing more than a friend. They didn’t believe it. He woke up one morning to find all of his clothes and belongings thrown in a heap on the living room floor. It was at that time that he was forced to come out to them. That night he was kicked out of his house, put on the street, and disowned by his entire family. His parents told him never to return to Mexico for he was no longer wanted there. They told him that he was the shame of the family and that he should never expect anything from them again.
After hearing of what had happened, my grandparents took him into our home to live with us. We have been living with them ever since. He has become a member of our family. My grandparents love him and treat him like another grandchild. With us he finally knows what it means to feel loved and to be a part of a family. With us he finally gets the love and tenderness he deserves.
And yet, despite the blessings we have and the love we share, I live with the constant fear that one day he could be taken into custody for being an undocumented immigrant. I am filled with disgust and horror when I imagine my husband thrown into a jail or detention center like an animal with nobody there to care for him, nobody there to give him love, nobody there to cook for him and protect him.
We pray that our being legally married will help to protect us and keep us from being separated based on ICE’s new prosecutorial discretion guidelines. He, like so many other immigrants, is a loving human being, contributes to his community, works hard, and poses no risk to public safety. However, we know that there are no guarantees. We put great hope in the administration’s view that all marriages should be treated equally under the law. We hope that in that context, the government will leave us alone and allow us to live our lives in peace until the day comes when the laws have changed and I can sponsor my husband for a green card. There is no home for him in Mexico. There is no life for him there. His life is here. Those who love him are here. With the support of my wonderful grandparents and our extended network of friends and family we will continue to do fight for what is right to make sure that we are not torn apart. Together we can achieve the protection that we deserve.