Georgia LGBT Dreamer reacts to Trump’s DACA decision
“If you get married before the age of 18, to a United States citizen, the process goes by fairly quickly as you have not attained any ‘illegal presence,’” she said. “Of course, I wasn’t gonna get married before the age of 18 years old. It wasn’t gonna happen.”
It especially wasn’t going to happen be- cause when Mileidi turned 18, she had a girlfriend, but marriage equality wasn’t the law of the land yet. Even after it was, though, there was still bad news.
“I could get married to my girlfriend, but I would have to go back to Mexico with a time penalty for a period of anywhere between weeks to 13 years. There’s no in-between. They just hit you with a random number,” she said. “That was something I wasn’t willing to risk. I didn’t want to be gone for 13 years because, honestly, at that point I might as well just stay in Mexico. I think that’s the point.”
Under DACA, there is a way for recipients to leave the country for an approved purpose and return legally, which makes the path to residency and citizenship easier. At first, Mileidi chose not to pursue this, but things changed in November 2016.
“When I found out that Trump had won, I freaked out. He promised to end DACA right when he got into office,” she said.
She immediately filed for DACA renewal and the advanced parole program, and found out she was accepted into the program in April.
“I told myself I was going to as quickly as possible travel because everything is so uncertain when you’re under this presidency,” Mileidi said. “I bought my ticket to Mexico April 25, on my 25th birthday. I think I was in Mexico May 30, came back on June 6.”
It was then, seven years after they began dating, that Mileidi and her girlfriend were finally able to tie the knot.
A detour on the citizenship path
Now that she’s married to a US citizen, Mileidi should be able to pursue citizenship, but being LGBT adds another layer of complication.
“[My wife] didn’t come out to her parents until really like two years ago. She really struggled a lot with her identity and how her parents would react,” Mileidi said. “For five years of our relationship, her parents had no idea we were together. … For me, that means difficult immigration processing.”
Other couples have family vouch for them, wedding pictures, proof that they share a residence, even being on each oth-
“I was surviving before DACA, but I didn’t really feel like I really existed until after. I don’t think you can explain that. You really do become kind of more of a person and it sucks that someone can take your humanity by taking your documentation status.”