Lived experiences: On this side of the border
‘You did the hardest thing. Permission, whose president did you get permission from? From none, so you just keep on going.’
In her visit to Fresno, CA, Laura García, editor of the Tribuno del Pueblo, interviewed Rosemary Moreno, an activist for immigrants’ rights.
Tribuno: Tell me about your community work.
Rosemary: I help people with their papers. When I interview people, I always find out they have other problems, it’s never just immigration. It would be OK if all their problems would end when they had that “famous” mica (green card).
When you have a mica, there is always the danger that can it can be taken away, and this is not understood. People need to know the restrictions. They’re always in danger that it can be taken away, that’s why they need to know its limitations. No instructions are given with that mica.
I do not just fill out papers and send them out. When they get their mica, I explain to them: Do not drive drunk. Do not lie to the government. Do not hit your wife. And the most important thing is that you cannot live outside the U.S. for more than six months. But as a permanent resident one can request permission to live outside for two years without risking losing his or her residence. The only thing is that if you apply for citizenship, it will affect you because there are interruptions in your residence.
Tribuno: Can a legal resident obtain papers for his or her family?
Rosemary: Immigration laws say that people who have lived here for more than 10 years can file in court to apply for legal residency. But they cannot have felonies or majors.
You can apply for your family after 10 years. You can fix your wife’s papers. But it has to be a legal marriage. You can fix papers for your unmarried children no matter the age. But they have to remain single, or divorced or widowed.
Tribuno: What do you think of Donald Trump?
Rosemary: He is a bully with money. Those who abuse my clients are always people with money. I said that we were going to have problems when there is a person who has never suffered hunger and poverty. At the same time, I am very proud of this state, the governor gave us driver’s licenses, the schools are assuring the parents that they would not allow ICE to enter inside.
Tribuno: Are people afraid?
Rosemary: Yes. There is no way to take away their fear. But I tell them, “You did the hardest thing. Permission, whose president did you get permission from? From none, so you just keep on going.”