A one on one in depth Interview with Kristina Hinojosa whose spouse was deported in 2018 for not being a documented United States Citizen.
By David Thomas Journalist
1. How did you and your husband meet? What was your Courtship like?
I met my husband through my dad actually...he was friends with a guy who knew him. My husband was in a relationship at the time so we were friends for years until he came to Alliance to date me.
2. How many children do you have and what was it like raising a family for you in a small town like Alliance Ohio?
I have 4 children. 2 from a previous relationship and 2 with my husband. I was born in Florida and moved to Ohio at age 11. I like small towns rather than big cities to raise my kid's. To me it feels more like home.
3. When did you realize that he wasn't a documented citizen?
I don't remember exactly when I realized he was undocumented. Maybe a year or 2 into our relationship. Probably around the time we were talking about getting married.
4. What was it like constantly living in fear? How did it affect you?
Living in fear...was absolutely awful! We would be driving and see a cop car behind us and immediately freeze in fear turning down a road to different street. I believe this stress is a part of what caused my 2 heart attacks. The fear limited us to many things we wanted to do.
5. When did Ice pick up your husband and how long have you been separated?
My husband was taken from our home May 10, 2018. We have been separated since then. A little over 4 years now.
6. Are you able to see and communicate with your husband and how often?
We are able to communicate over FaceTime daily. However, it's not the same. He has missed so much...Birthday's, holidays, special events that he can never get back. We have been able to visit Mexico the past couple of years to see him which has been a huge blessing. Going forward, we will be limited to do this as its very costly and it takes a lot of saving to make it possible.
7. What are you doing now to try to get him allowed back into the country and to become a US Citizen?
We are currently waiting for his visa appointment. We've been waiting for over a year now. We know this visa will be denied but it's the process we have to go through to get to the next process which is a waiver process asking for a pardon. This can take years.
8. What is life like for the kids being separated from their dad?
My kid's lives have changed. They were traumatized by this, for a long time they were afraid of police. My youngest still asks me if he will be taken away when he gets older. They have been bullied at school being told to go back to their country. They are changed. I see sadness in their faces on birthdays, holidays and events that they want their dad to be a part of. My oldest graduates next year and knowing my husband can't be there is already on our minds and it brings tears just thinking about it.
9. How has this affected you physically, mentally and financially becoming a single parent?
I am not the same...this has taken a toll on me in every way. I was in survival mode for a long time. Some days I still am. Physically I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis which can flare up in stressful times. So I suffer daily. Mentally, I have depression and it can take me down fast. Still to this day I cry a lot. Mostly at night alone so I don't upset my children. I don't sleep well. My mind never stops . Financially, it's very difficult. I get just enough to cover my monthly bills with little left over to support my kid's. I do my best but I often hear my kid's in conversation saying “Don't ask my cuz you know we don' t have money for that" It's hard to overhear.
10. What line of work did your husband do here?
My husband worked in construction.
11. Do you have hope that your family will be reunited?
I have to keep hope that one day we will again be reunited as a family. Some days that hopes starts to slip away and I'm filled with "what if's" but I try my best to keep hope. I pray daily my husband can come back to us.
12. What do you say to people that go, well he was illegal and this is what you get?
I say to those people that no one is "illegal" that is a very derogatory term to say. Undocumented yes but not illegal. I also say, you can't help who you fall in love with. I am not any more special than he is just because he wasn't born in the US. We have a family together and we should be together.
13. Is your family bullied because of your situation and your husband's immigration status?
13. Yes, when this first happened and it came to light. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders because we didn't have to hide it any longer but with that came a lot of hate. Many have said very hurtful things to my kid's and myself. People don't understand the process. It's not as easy as they say "Just do it the right way" or "he should have just done it the right way." Starting the process brings attention to a person's status and then more fear sets in and when you have children, you have to think of how this can affect them. And in our case, they unlawfully deported my husband when they shouldn't have. Please understand that once a person is here , they have rights and my husbands were violated...this caused an immense amount of pain to our family.