Reunite the Colindres Family

On 1/31/18 - ICE deported Joel Colindres, leaving his two US young children and American-born wife; broken and displaced. Despite having an approved I-130 and Visa sponsorship through his valid marriage to his wife, no criminal history and proof of payment of taxes for all his years in the United States, DHS went ahead with the cruel plans and tore this loving family apart, leaving their American dreams shattered. Joel still has a pending asylum case in the 5th Circuit Court and an appeal of his 212 waiver. To deport a man who's case had not been heard is unjust. There was no justice for Joel or his family.

Now this post is a bit personal and emotional about our lives but I want people to get to know our family and learn that our lives were once just as typical as the "normal American family." Both Joel and I working full time jobs, living pretty minimalistic while trying to save and make a better future for our family. Just trying to be that typical middle class family in Fairfield County. And we were pretty good at it. Both accomplished in our lines of work, driven, content with our fixer upper home and raising two of the most amazing kids: a boy and a girl. Pretty idealistic American family with normal values and goals. So back to why I post such personal moments to thousands of people. I do so because I truly believe that it's hard to hate up close. The closer you get to an issue and a person; emotional, personal and relatable feelings come into play. From that, a person’s perspective can change as the closer they get to empathetically understanding our struggle. This is why I choose to share very personal aspects of our lives with so many strangers. Perhaps thru our story I can change just ONE hater’s opinion or judgments.

This life is HARD. Without Joel. Feels empty yet chaotic. Being like a single mama. Trying to do it all. Work. Household stuff. Taking care of the children. Responsible for all the bills plus Joel’s expenses abroad. Doing it on my own is so difficult, I have to remind myself to breathe. I make just enough to pay the bills on my own but I’m living paycheck to paycheck.Unexpected expenses have come in, such as the tornado damage to pay, medical bills for myself and Lila that weren’t covered by insurance….and I just haven’t been able to pay them yet. I know we were so lucky receive many funds when this immigration battle started about a year ago but those funds are long gone on Joel’s legal expenses. This has led me to put our home up for sale as I can no longer afford to live in the home that was remodeled by Joel. Breaks my heart everyday to live in this beautiful home made with his love knowing I have to leave it soon, unwillingly.

I haven't gone public with this part but I am planning a relocation abroad to reunite our family. This move is enough to consume the average person, let alone a single mom who is still devastated and trying to fix the broken pieces of our lives this Administration destroyed. As I try to sort the things to store, sell, throw away or ship; it's extremely difficult to say goodbye to these items and to make your children say goodbye to toys they want to keep but can't because I can't afford to ship them. Having to pick up life and sell it all was never an option I wanted to give them. I always imagined them in this home as teenagers and battling it out for bathroom time. I always tried to give them the best and now I feel as if I’m forcibly taking it all away from them. Yes the best quality of life is here. I mean that’s what Joel and I worked so hard for here, to give them the best life possible. Safe community, good schools, nice home, close to family but what they want MOST is DADDY. And they are not really having a solid quality of life, just ask their teachers and counselors. They both show signs of post traumatic stress and my son who in December of 2017 was exceeding his end of year standards for first grade, fell back to barley meeting them by year end. Changes in both children's behavior and academics drastically occurred after Joel was deported. Countless days of calls and messages about how both children are having a hard time at school. Endless nights of tears and cries for Daddy. I know life is going to be very difficult if we relocate but it can't be much harder than it is here without Joel. I can't keep telling them "soon" and know full well it is a lie. And frankly, I’m not sure how much more emotionally they can take…. or I can take. I’ve had heartbreaking, mind breaking and soul crushing days since Joel’s deportation where I just wanted to escape it all, as what makes this so hard and what keeps me afloat, is the children. No mother should have to do and say what I try to say to them to make them feel better EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT.

And what about their rights? Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% against what’s happening at the border with families being separated but what about my American children rights to not be separated from their Dad? Where’s the huge public and legislative outrage over this? Where’s the court’s ruling that their rights are being violated by this continuous suffering? Why is the only choice at reuniting us to move out of the country that they were born in? Why does it feel as if the government doesn’t care about these American children leaving their solid foundation in the US to live a completely different life abroad? WHERE’S THE JUSTICE!?!

I'm worried about moving every day, I'm afraid I'm making wrong choice. But that sort of is how my life is now, constantly living in the past and looking at all the wrong choices we made with lawyers or groups, what led us to this point in time now. Wishing I could change so much of that past. I second guess myself on almost every choice I make now, all the time. But then I figure, how much harder can life be than it already is? If we are all a family and together, then how hard can it be?

I met with Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty last week who gave me some real solid advice. Start asking for help. Don’t get me wrong, there have been so many people, family, friends and strangers who have helped without my asking. But as time as gone on, it has tapered off and if anyone knows me well, you know I rarely ask for help. I have a control freak problem of trying to handle it all on my own which I know isn’t healthy. It’s going to break me and is slowly chipping away at me now. So I took her advice and I recently asked a friend of Joel’s for some help at our home. His response: “I have been waiting for you to ask me for help.” I smiled-cried at the same time on that one and realized, you know what? I do need to ask for help. I’m alone every night, doing the dinner, bath, bedtime routine, trying to fit in home showings, working full time, caring for two kids and a dog, trying to keep the home “show quality” and I’m going to break soon.

So here it is. I NEED HELP. I cannot afford to keep living here and I cannot afford to relocate. But our kids NEED their Dad. Our international move will cost $15,000 to only get the smallest container to ship household items. We would leave behind bigger items such as tables, sofas, dressers, etc. If we hadn’t paid so much in the battle to keep Joel here, we would be better suited to finance this move but here we are. Couple this with no job security (I’m trying to find something before we make the leap, hopefully something that will allow me to work remote or convince my current job to allow me to work remotely) the cost of kid’s schools, plane tickets and other loose ends, it feels as if I make this move, we will be no better off than we are here without Joel. I’m constantly trying to work out the numbers in my head of “if we sell the house for this much, this is how much we will have to live for such and such months.” But I can’t live off of “what if’s” anymore, I need solid guarantees. Outsiders think it’s so easy to relocate, “pick up and move” they say or “if she really loved him, she would go.” There are so many factors that come into play with an international move, don’t even get me started on the process of taking my dog abroad and how complicated (and costly) that is.

I’m not looking to make a profit from all you amazing supporters or take advantage, I am seriously looking for some financial help so we can make this move internationally to be with Joel. Right now Joel has a five year bar from entering the US, for when USCIS denied our 212 waiver, they purposely did not deny it for what is was, (a hardship waiver), they denied it for him missing his court date 14 years ago (that we have proof they never even sent a letter about). So by them denying it for the missing court date, it allowed them to stick on a five year bar. If they denied it because we didn’t prove hardship (which they stated on their denial we proved), there would be no bar and I would have been able to file another one showing the hardship I am in now. But they purposely did it this way. They wanted to stick it to him and have him “do his time.” The only way to get rid of this five year bar is to win our appeal, which our lawyer says “don’t have any hope in," and we won't hear till early next year. And even if the appeal is won, we would still have 2 years’ worth of additional waivers to do (601A and 601 plus visa center processing and interviews). I can’t go on for 2 more years even if it was that. I can’t go on here without an end date in sight. I have no date of when he could return, living in limbo constantly knowing we can be together it’s just a matter of time and cost. So here I am. Begging you all to share this link and donate to our fund of relocating. We had almost 28,000 people sign the petition, if each person donated 1 dollar it would change our lives. My kids need their dad. I need the love of my husband. Joel needs his family and a purpose back. We need to be a family of four again. It may not be on US soil but that’s ok with me, as long as we are together. I’m pleading with you all for help so we can make the leap and reunite abroad. And I apologize in advance but I will not disclose the location to protect Joel’s safety. Many thanks to you all and much love – Samantha Colindres xoxxx
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 41 mos
  • Laurie McGrath 
    • $25 
    • 42 mos
  • Rosalyn Liss 
    • $25 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $15 
    • 42 mos
  • Mary Bejian 
    • $100 
    • 42 mos
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Organizer

Samantha Colindrés 
Organizer
New Fairfield, CT