Posts Tagged ‘CNN’

Engineering grad returns to Mexico, now waits to become legal – CNN.com.

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.

D


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(CNN) — One of the most outspoken gay critics of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy said Thursday that he has been discharged from the Army.

Lt. Dan Choi, who was arrested in March for handcuffing himself to a White House fence in protest of the policy, released a statement saying he had been honorably discharged.

The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy bars people who are openly gay or lesbian from serving in the military.

“This is both an infuriating and painful announcement,” Choi said. “But my service continues. … Remaining silent when our family and community members are fired or punished for who they truly are would be an unequivocal moral dereliction that tarnishes the honor of the uniform and insults the meaning of America.”

Choi told CNN he received the news through a phone call from his Army National Guard battalion commander. His discharge, however, actually became effective on June 29, according to Eric Durr, a National Guard spokesman.

“You prepare yourself,” Choi said. “I built an armor up.”

Choi, a 2003 West Point graduate who is fluent in Arabic, was an infantry platoon leader, serving with his unit in Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

He admitted his sexual orientation publicly for the first time last year on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” prompting the Army to initiate proceedings to discharge him.

Choi, who lives in New York City, founded KnightsOut.org, an advocacy and education organization of West Point graduates who are gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual. KnightsOut estimates there are 65,000 gays in the military.

President Barack Obama is pushing for a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. A bill that would overturn the measure after a Pentagon review is completed in December is currently before Congress.

More than 12,500 gays have been booted from the military since “don’t ask, don’t tell” went into effect.

Lt. Dan Choi

via Outspoken gay soldier discharged from Army – CNN.com.

Video – Breaking News Videos from CNN.com.

I cant believe the lady that described the so-called “people on the list.”  She basically just described everyone in the country.  : – )

Legal mixed with illegal citizens – hate-mail, death threats… we need to action on this now, and create better government reform.