When I met and fell in love with my husband Juan Molina in 1994, he was an undocumented immigrant from Honduras. I worried about him being deported every single day we were together. Thank God we got good advice from Catholic Charities and moved up the date of our marriage so Juan could legalize under a provision of immigration law that was about to expire. It was not until later that I came to see what a nightmare our life would have been if we had waited.
After Juan was able to legalize, he studied English at Delgado University, received an associate’s degree and went on to the University of New Orleans to complete a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He started his own construction business after Katrina and is working hard to make it a success. We are the parents of three wonderful boys.
I know many people in our community who have so much potential like Juan but whose potential cannot be realized because of their legal status. It breaks my heart when I think of all the mothers I know who live in fear every single day that the father of their children could be deported.
I hope and pray that our congressional leaders have the courage and wisdom to vote for comprehensive immigration reform that includes an achievable path to citizenship and opens legal channels for immigration to meet the needs of our economy. Then the 11 million undocumented immigrants can come out of the shadows and fully realize their God-given potential and families can stay together.