March 2, 2017

“I am a World History student at Stevenson University. The professor of this class asked if anyone is being affected by any of the decisions made by President Trump in his first 100 days in office. I raised my hand – here is my story. I am married to a Chilean. He has been in the U.S. since 2003. He came here on his student visa. After completing his Masters degree in science, he found a company to hire him and start the process of a working visa. He has been with this company for over five years and his working visa is still being renewed.  He has been following all the rules of the process of legally getting his citizenship, but it’s been 14 years and he still doesn’t have it. Now that he is married to a U.S. citizen, everyone thinks that he is ‘in the clear.’ Not true at all. We have had to pay out of pocket the cost of filing for the permanent residency application. We filed in November 2016, but we probably won’t hear anything until June/July 2017. This process may be even more extended due to the number of people applying for citizenship before President Trump came into office. For my husband, it’s a waiting game to see when he will begin the process of permanent citizenship – this includes an interview of us as a couple, proper financial documentation, proof we are living together, and photographs during the stages of our relationship are just a few things needed to make sure our relationship is legitimate. After he is granted permanent resident status, he will then have to wait five years until he can apply for citizenship.

My husband and I are also worried for his brother and sister who are also here on student/work visas. His sister came to the U.S. in 2001 also on her student visa. She completed her Master’s degree in science and is practicing as a physician assistant. Her job also promised they would sponsor her for the working visa, but sadly she just got the news that her job is not going to renew her working visa. A work visa expires every three years and can be renewed a maximum of two times, for six years total. She is at her maximum. Her only option is to renew her Chilean visa every year. This is another incident where President Trump is affecting our family. He wants to revoke the Trans-Pacific treaty already established with Chile. So for my husband’s sister, it will be a gamble every year to see if she can stay. His brother hasn’t even been given the chance to be sponsored by a job. He is working on his second Master’s degree to stay here legally on a student visa and is starting the process of applying for an entrepreneur/investor visa. This is another route for citizenship. If this does not work out, he will have to return home to Chile.

For citizenship, there is no direct route to achieve it. It is a long process that takes many years to complete. There are a lot of hoops to jump through. When President Trump got elected into office, my husband and his family are fearing for the worst. President Trump’s actions may tear families apart – legal and illegal.”

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