Engineering Grad From Arizona State Self Deports, Misses Daughter

Posted: July 29, 2010 in Immigration in the United States
Tags: , , , , , ,

Engineering grad returns to Mexico, now waits to become legal –

Magdalena De Kino, Mexico (CNN) — Oscar Vazquez will likely read this story. He has the internet. He has a television, too. Then, he’ll go off to work at a car parts factory.

He buries himself in work in this small Mexican town to keep his mind off thoughts of his wife and young daughter back in the United States.

“I try to keep myself busy,” Vazquez said. “Like weekends are really tough. Most days, I just go to work and come home and sleep and sleep as much as I can and go back to work.”

It’s not the life Vazquez thought he’d be living after earning a mechanical engineering degree at Arizona State University.

Across the border, Vazquez’s wife, Karla, and 2-year-old daughter, Samantha, live in Phoenix, Arizona, where it’s relatively safer.

Karla Vazquez said she would have moved to Mexico with her husband if not for Samantha.

Like many Mexican border towns, Magdalena De Kino has seen its share of violence. A few months back several men were shot and killed just down the street, Oscar Vazquez said. The bullets scarred the front of his house.

“That happened before I moved in,” he said. “But it’s still a little scary to have a bullet hole in your front door.”

Every few weeks, Karla and Samantha make the three-hour drive to visit Oscar on Karla’s days off.

“The only thing that worries me is that she drives kind of fast,” Vazquez said, with a frown, during one of the visits.

“I just want to get here,” she interjected.

Magdalena De Kino is a far cry from the life Vazquez lived in Phoenix. When he was in high school, he was an executive officer in the ROTC program.

He was also a member of the robotics team, which entered an underwater remotely operated robot in a competition against universities.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology was one of them.

The little robot called “Stinky” — built in a couple of days by Vazquez and his teammates — won the competition.

But behind all his successes, he was hiding a secret. Vazquez was an illegal immigrant. But not by choice.

When he was 12, his mother smuggled him across the border into Arizona so they could be with his father.

He graduated from high school and college in Arizona, and started a family.

Then Oscar and Karla decided to take an extraordinary risk: He would leave the United States. In essence, Oscar Vazquez would “self deport” to Mexico so he then could apply to return legally.

“No one is going to hire you for a top job if you don’t have your Social Security number and all that stuff,” Vazquez said.

It was the only way to have a successful future in the United States, according to Karla Vazquez.

“He worked so hard to get a degree and really wanted to put it to use,” she said. “He wasn’t going to be able to do that without getting legalized.”

The Vazquezes thought the process would be smooth. He applied for a waiver of his “excludability” based on extreme hardship to his family.

His initial application was rejected.

The U.S. government wanted to see more documents of the family’s finances as well as evidence of the psychological impact of Vazquez’s absence on the family, to prove hardship.

“Do they want to see me living in a box with my baby for it to be enough for them to let my husband come back home?” Karla asked.

“Do they want to see me lose my job and then my child to protective services because I can’t provide for her? What more do they need?”

It could be another year before there’s a decision on his appeal.

How does that make him feel?

“Frustrated,” Oscar says, “not to be with the family, not to be able to see my daughter grow up.”

When he graduated from Arizona State last year, Vazquez was asked to stand during the commencement to be honored for his outstanding perseverance and determination. Hundreds of people applauded him, including President Obama, who was there to deliver the commencement address.

For now, Vazquez lives with those memories and his hope for the future.

“I do want to be able to go back home and give them all the things they need and all the things they want and give them the life they deserve,” he said.

To Oscar: You Rock!  You shouldn’t have to even think about leaving your family behind.  I’m so sorry that this has happened to you and your family.  Better days will be here for all of us, I just hope that it is not too late for you to enjoy your daughters childhood.

This is the type of bullshit that comes out of creating laws against people that live in your community that are not doing any more harm than anyone else.  It’s bullshit that Arizona State University can issue these degrees, and that he can even meet President Obama in his commencement, but has to virtually self-deport because he’s scared shitless that when America deports him, he’ll have no chance to see his daughter again.  How is it possible that a state can issue these degrees, seemingly understanding that he was probably illegal, and then create a law that targets people like him specifically?  It makes me sick.


  1. Dominic says:

    It’s really sad to think that today in the U.S. Oscar can be thought of as just another statistic that has been put together to calculate how many immigrants have been deported. Not a lot of people want to believe this, but when you see it happen you just realize how the people who deport them feel. I grew up in a border town in Texas and know all to well the struggles of people like Oscar and it scares me to even say this, has the U.S. government began to look at people who cross illegally as just numbers for their statistics? First off these immigrants that so many people have complained about are taking the jobs we (I include myself because no one is immune from it) see as below our status. With all these company layoffs and people needing jobs are you really going to end up seeing a former CEO or CFO try to work on a farm, on an assembly line, or any true labor skill job? Are you, a person with a college education, going to settle for a job in which you do manual labor? For most of you out there the answer is hell no, but let me tell you without immigrants these jobs would be empty and we would be in a world of hurt. Secondly these people are actually doing things some of us aren’t. They are working to better their lives, not solely for money but think about it on a broader spectrum. These people are bringing in money for the government because a majority of them who may be undocumented actually payback more money to the government than some of the CEO’s of fortune 500 companies. You can call me a retard but please look at the facts, why is it during tax time we are all frantic while these big wigs aren’t makes you feel kind of small don’t it. Also the better life some of these people are looking for is a life where they don’t have to become one of the many killed by the drug war violence down there. Hell in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico people are faced with a death toll that reaches 2000 only 6 months into the year. I remember when the yearly tolls were only on an average of 200. Now your telling me the people who live in these towns and have little children that get hit with stray bullets don’t deserve a chance to live a nice peaceful life? Well then I finish with this then why don’t you (I mean you as people against letting these modern day refugees come here) try living the life these people have and compare to yours. After you think about that just remember we are all humans, and we shouldn’t dictate if a person deserves to live here or not. Its almost as if they are trying to manifest destiny our asses all over again. I say FUCK YOU MANIFEST DESTINY you have taken the lives of so many innocent people and continue to with no end in sight.

  2. Jane says:

    It’s just heart breaking to me that people who were smuggled over as a child and have now become working functional adults are terrified to be where they grew up calling “home”.

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