Most of you know me as Ali but my name is Alejandra Montoya. I am here to ask you for your support in raising $3,000 to stop me from being deported.
I came to the Unites States in 2005, when I was only 9 years old, when my mother and I ran away from Mexico to escape an abusive father/husband. At that time there was no way to pursue legal citizenship in this country. The Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrival (DACA), that passed during the Obama Administration changed that. It gave me opportunities like being able to get a driver's license, work permit and social security number, so I could work.
I was a serious student and since I've lived in the U.S., I have been awarded many academic awards, which made it possible for me to obtain DACA status, in 2013. I renewed my DACA status in 2015, but just as I was getting ready to renew again 2017, our lawyer advised me not to because of the uncertainty of the status of DACA under the Trump Administration and the concern that it was going to be terminated. So in March 2017, my family and I decided to start the long, expensive process to apply for a green card and ultimately citizenship.
This process began with applying for Advanced Parole. When I was granted Advanced Parole my husband Nakai, our daughter Silvermist and I were able to travel to Mexico to visit my sick grandfather. This was my first time in Mexico in more than 12 years. Upon my return I was granted legal re-entry back into the U.S.
When we returned we got back to work on applying for legal status only to learn that we needed more money to cover the rest of the filing fees to finish adjusting my status. So when my husband Nakai was offered the opportunity to do a photoshoot for a native company, we agreed, as the pay would help toward the costs of re-applying for legal status via a green card this time vs DACA.
On May 18th, 2017 we drove eight hours from Ledyard, Connecticut to Massena, New York where we met with friends and family who were also participating in the photoshoot. On May 21st, Nakai had one more shoot to do early in the morning but our two-year old daughter, Silvermist was still asleep so we both agreed it was best for her and I to stay in the hotel before we headed on our eight-hour drive back home.
After we finished breakfast, Nakai called me saying he was almost there to pick us up. I grabbed our things and went outside with Silvermist to wait on a bench in front of the hotel. As Nakai was approaching the entrance to the hotel, I noticed a police car in front of him pass in front of us and park. We got in the car and headed towards the exit of the hotel but there was a "No left turn" sign (which was the turn we needed to make to go home) so we turned right and then turned into the nearest gas station to turn around.
At this point we noticed the police car was now following us. Once we started driving in the right direction for home, we decided to stop and get gas before our eight hour drive back home. I got out of the car and purchased a water bottle and a bag of chips while Nakai was pumping gas. The police car pulled into the gas station and parked in another pumping station. We got back in the car and started driving home. About five minutes into our drive we spotted a Border Patrol vehicle on a side street.
As soon as I saw the border patrol vehicle, my heart sunk. We were pulled over. We asked why we were being pulled over and the border patrol agent struggled to give us an answer. Instead he proceeded to ask us for federal identification.
Though I had a valid driver's license, which I gave them, and I was not driving, they asked me for federal identification. I handed him my DACA, which expired May 10, 2017. It had been expired for 11 days. I explained that we were here on a work matter and had an appointment for the very next day, Monday May 22 with my attorney, to apply for my green card and explained this was the reason I had not renewed the DACA. But my explanations meant nothing to the officers and I was arrested and detained for eight hours. Me and my family were devastated, traumatized, and scared. My daughter was beside herself as I was arrested right in front of her. She was screaming "mommy" over and over. It was horrible and we were all crying!!! I never want to live through something like this again or put my family through it ever again.
Beginning on May 22, I have had to check in at the Hartford Immigration office every three months awaiting a court date, and I have done faithfully to date. On the 22nd at the Hartford Immigration office, I was told that I was profiled because I was sitting outside with a toddler, a cooler, and a backpack. Something I thought I was free to do since I had a driver's license, active work permit, social security number, I was employed and legally paid taxes, and my DACA was only 11 days expired and I had an appointment the following morning to continue the citizenship process, which was the earliest appointment I could get.
Unfortunately, because I had to go to the immigration office, I was no longer eligible to apply for a green card. Instead I have been waiting for a court date to explain my case to a judge and I still don't have one. Last month, I received a letter from immigration that I am now in removal proceedings status . This means I am now in the waiting process to be DEPORTED, which is terrifying because I haven't lived in Mexico since I was nine years old and my husband and daughter are here! WE DON'T WANT TO BE SEPARATED!
Therefore, I desperately need $3000 and I am asking for your help to raise this amount. $750 will be used to file a motion to terminate the case to deport me, $1000 for the attorney fee, and $1225 to apply for my green card, which I couldn't do until I completed the process to approve my eligibility to apply for the card after I terminate my deportation case. All of this has been a very long and expensive process and it is not over yet, but we have exhausted our resources and cannot earn money quickly enough to keep up and to pay back people who have helped us so far. I am currently employed and have been trying to find more work to supplement our income, but I have to explain my situation to any potential employers, and this makes it difficult to get hired and that's why I need to ask for your help.
Our family will keep working to earn money for this process. If there is any way that any of you reading this can help us, we will most sincerely appreciate it.
Ali, Nakai, and Silvermist <3
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