Jesus Velazquez' Victory Fund

WHO AM I?
I was a premature baby with slim chances of survival and thus, incubated for several months. Doctors told my mother to let me go because they had lost hope for my survival. My mother, a woman of deep faith, asked God to let me stay and in return she would name me after his son. 12 years later, she brought me to the United States. We were undocumented, in search of a better life and brighter future.

I was raised in the U.S. and firmly believe that citizenship is about state of mind, perspective, community involvement and moral character, rather than just a physical birthplace. I transitioned from a little boy to an adolescent to an adult, thinking and conducting myself in the “American way.” Over the course of almost 30 years, I have established strong roots in Seattle, and have been an active member of the community. From participating in community-based programs in high school, to political and social engagement during my college years, to countless video projects in my professional career, I have made my mark. Seattle is my home. The most important endeavor I have undertaken is my 14-year marriage to my wife, a U.S. citizen. Courtney and all of her family have become the center of my life. They have welcomed me with open arms since day one.
 
Despite the many bumps in the road due to this immigration conundrum, I feel extremely grateful for the opportunities that life has brought me. After completing high school, my dream was to attend NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts to pursue a degree in film. However, since I could not apply for financial aid and paying out-of-pocket for tuition was out of the question, I instead got a technical degree in video production from Bellevue College.

I have since worked on a variety of video projects, including educational programming, documentaries, commercial work and yes, even reality TV. As an editor and videographer, I have created compelling stories about everyday people and produced social and political awareness programming reaching a diverse audience. I have had the opportunity to travel domestically to places I would otherwise not have been able to visit. After several years of working in the video industry, I knew my next step in life was to get a four-year degree. In 2010, I graduated from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. Getting a business degree was important. I knew it would increase my prospects for employment. However, a big motivation was also to prove to myself that I could graduate from a respected university despite my undocumented status. Ultimately, I boot-strapped my way through college, which, in essence, is the quintessential American way. 

CIRCUMSTANCES
My wife filed a petition for family-based sponsorship back in 2003, shortly after we got married. The current laws and the immigration process faced by those who have been in the U.S. without appropriate documentation is a ten-year bar, unless a waiver is granted to eliminate that bar. We were awarded the waiver this January and decided to take a gamble on the next and final step of this process, which involves leaving the country.

I came to Ciudad Juarez on May 5, 2017 for a consular interview at the U.S. Consulate. Part of this consular process includes a medical examination, which I failed due to the detection of an abnormal spot on my chest. I had been diagnosed in Seattle with latent TB four months prior and was treated for the bacteria. I left Seattle with my doctor’s letter and proof that I had completed the treatment, but unfortunately the medical staff here at the American Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, blatantly disregarded my medical records. I now face two to three months of uncertainty in Mexico, waiting for lab results from the medical clinic. 

My hope is that the situation will be cleared up and I will be able to return to Courtney, my friends, family and community in Seattle.  My goal is to return to my life as I left it a few weeks ago, being a creative, contributing community member and taking nothing for granted.

GOALS & USE OF FUNDS
This process has been humbling. Even though I am Mexican and was born in-country, I am a stranger in a strange land here. The morning of my interview at the Consulate, I thought my heart was going to explode! At this point, my nerves are frayed, but I remain optimistic.

Courtney and I pride ourselves on living within our means and being generous with what we have. My default would be for us to hunker down and make do. A couple of my close friends told me that they would put me in a headlock if I didn’t allow my community to show their support. When we ran the numbers, we decided that our goal should be to raise $7,500. This money will be used to cover the following expenses:

1. Supporting my mom. I have been financially responsible for my mom, sending her a monthly remittance of $500.

2. Assistance with daily living expenses while in Mexico.

3. Expenses we still face; (new) legal fees, immigration and consulate fees, and travel expenses for when returning to Ciudad Juarez and (I hope) back to Seattle.

Any funds not allocated for the above purposes will be donated to Colectiva Legal del Pueblo or another community based organization doing similar work.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. We appreciate your support more than words can express.

Donations

  • Nancy Norman 
    • $20 
    • 38 mos
  • Jon Gould 
    • $20 
    • 38 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 39 mos
  • Kate Douglas 
    • $100 
    • 39 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 39 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Ray Morales 
Organizer
Seattle, WA
Courtney Velazquez 
Beneficiary
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