USCIS: Please end our suffering and let my daughter come back home.
We, the undersigned, would like to petition the USCIS to allow Diana Marcela Valencia Aragon to re-enter these United States so that she may rightfully have her day in court.
Diana Marcela Valencia Aragon was only 12 years old when she came to The United Stated from Colombia with her family in August 1996. Her mother is now a US Citizen and her younger brother, an Emergency Medical Technician, is a Florida Resident on a path to citizenship. An unfortunate sequence of events would result in 10 years of filing documents; over $50,000 spent on legal fees; not being able to work, go to college, nor drive a car. Diana would eventually end up in an Intensive Supervision & Alternative Program (ISAP) in which she was required to wear and ankle monitor.
This was the tipping point in Diana’s mental state. Seeing no end in sight and in a desperate attempt to live a normal life: Diana left The United States and moved to Colombia, then to Chile on October 10th, 2012. Little did she know, that her “Notice of Hearing in Removal Proceedings” (the notice she had been waiting for 10 years) would arrive one month after she left the country. Diana was not even aware that she was 100% eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): She is not a criminal, she graduated High School, arrived as a child, and has lived most of her life here.
The Aragon’s came to The United States like many before them: driven by hopes, dreams, and the promise that hard work can be rewarded. Adapting to a new world in her teens, Diana attended grade school and won Jujitsu state tournaments. It was a high school guitar class where she met the love of her life Leonardo Valencia. After high school, Diana came face to face with the sobering reality of not being able to go to college because of her status. Under her father’s petition for asylum, Diana was able to obtain a work permit. Taking full advantage of the permit, Diana worked as a kitchen manager, head chef, etc.
Eager to take the next step in their lives together, the young couple married in 2004 making them Mr. and Mrs. Valencia. Thinking that their marriage would help expedite her resident status, Diana asked her lawyer to remove her from her father’s petition for asylum. The Lawyer never got around to doing what he was instructed and paid to do by his client. So when the father’s petition was denied, Diana was put on a deportation list.
In 2007, The United Stated Citizenship and Immigraition Services (USCIS) approved Diana’s “Petition for Alien Relative” (form i130). The lawyer eventually became unreachable and Diana was forced to seek out another lawyer (then another lawyer) who did the same exact thing: Take her money and file some paperwork on her behalf, forgetting important documents, missing deadlines, etc.
In January 2012, Diana received a phone call from a New York City USCIS Officer. The Officer explained to Diana that their office had been trying to reach her lawyer for quite some time and that Diana needs to report herself immediately to the her local USCIS office. After a harsh interrogation and allegations of evasion, Diana was sentenced to ISAP in which she had to wear an ankle monitor. Diana began having nightmares, panic attacks, and thoughts of suicide. All this stress also weighed heavily on her husband and her family. Behind their backs, Diana sold her music equipment and used that money to fly to Colombia.
Diana is not a criminal. Whenever she’s been given a fair shot, she has excelled, and has been a respectable member of our society. All she asks is for a fair shot like virtually everyone else in her life has had the good fortune of receiving. Diana has toured the United States with her bands, preformed benefit concerts for disaster victims, won Jujitsu tournaments, and is adored be her family, friends, and fans. Diana has fallen through the cracks of our immigration system and has unfairly been entangled in a system full of unsympathetic and apathetic lawyers who have shown absolutely no consideration for her as a human being whatsoever.
Diana is scheduled to present herself to The Immigration Court on May 14th, 2013. We would like to strongly petition the USCIS to please consider allowing Diana to come back into the country and to put her fate in the hands of The Immigration Court. Through the course of this petition, many have offered donations. Diana’s family has refused any donations stating: “We don’t need any money, or any hand-outs, we just need our Didi back.” Thank you so very much for your time and consideration.
“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.”
-U.S. President Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, 01/21/2013