The United States are the only country my husband knows. Pardon him so he can stay.
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My husband Rudy came to Florida from Cuba with his family in the Mariel boatlift as a 7 year-old boy. He did a stupid thing in 1997 when he was 24 years-old that led to a plea deal for a non-violent drug offense. If we knew then what we know now, Rudy wouldn’t have taken the deal and put his chance at becoming a citizen at risk.
When my husband began the process to obtain his citizenship in 2003, his application was flagged because of his involvement in the 1997 incident. Instead of progressing along the citizenship track, the very next year, my husband found himself on the deportation track. He received a deportation order in 2004. We immediately appealed that decision and lost.
My husband was placed under ICE supervision -- which required him to to check in with the nearest ICE office on a scheduled basis. And that’s what we did. For the next 13 years, Rudy faithfully checked in with ICE officials per his agreement.
In the meantime, we started a construction business and raised a family in a quiet, North Florida town. Our daughter grew up and decided to serve our country in the U.S. Coast Guard. Our son decided to follow his father’s footsteps in our family business. Life went on. Until just last month.
Rudy and I reported to the ICE office for his regular, scheduled check-in. Then, in an instant, three armed men appeared and he was taken into custody. I’ll never forget the expression on my husband’s face as he peered through the plexiglass window that divided us. Our worst nightmare was coming true.
Rudy has been locked up at the Wakulla County Detention Center -- an hour away from our home -- ever since. We’ve hired an immigration lawyer, but we still have no information about how long he will be detained or even if he’ll be released. If we knew then what we know now, my husband would’ve never accepted the plea deal that he took back in 1997.
Instead, our business is suffering. We have construction projects that have come to a halt just as our state is entering hurricane season. Our 19-year old son is trying to take the reigns. But it’s hard. We miss my husband so much.
Please sign and share this petition asking Governor Rick Scott to grant my husband Rudy a pardon. It’s the only way to remove the roadblock that stands between my husband, his freedom and a pathway to citizenship in the only country he’s known since he was a small boy. Help us show the world that the U.S. is still the place where dreams are possible and freedom reigns supreme.
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