I always thought that I became an American right after my adoption. My US citizen parents adopted me in 1999 at age 15. I received a birth certificate with an Illinois seal and Social Security card. The US State Department told me that I was American and that I could travel abroad with my birth certificate, which I did numerous times. As an adolescent, I attended school and graduated in Illinois. By age 21, I was married with two children and had many dreams for them. In 2009, when returning from vacation to Mexico, I was told that I was not a US citizen and denied entry. I was also threatened with detention if I tried to cross the border. If I had known that I was not a citizen, I would have applied through my American wife.
I am excluded from the Child Citizenship Act-2000 because I was adopted with the wrong visa type. As a result, my mother was forced to apply for an immigrant visa with an estimated 20-year waiting period. Unable to live with my family in the US, my wife divorced me and because I could not attend court, gained full custody of our children.
While living in Mexico, I have worked hard to financially support my children in the US. I earned several technical degrees and for years, I have paid child support at American standards despite my Mexican wages. In 2014, I received a B1 Visa for which I was very grateful as it allowed me to see my children after many years. It was the best feeling ever. However, travel expenses were burdensome as I had also lost the ability to renew my US driving privileges.
In 2015, I was surprised when a company in Michigan offered me a position and even after learning of my citizenship problem, they offered to facilitate a work visa.
I saw this as an excellent opportunity to be closer to my children and to provide for their college educations. The US Embassy denied the work visa and without explanation, revoked the tourist visa that allowed me to exercise my US legal visitation rights.
I have always respected the terms of my visas and have never been convicted of any wrongdoings. I have worked hard hoping to earn a place again in the country that I love and to be with my parents, children, and family who are all American citizens. With citizenship, I could reunite with my children who are now ages 15 and 12. I cannot replace the years I have missed in their lives, and hope they will someday understand that I am doing my best to repair the problems of my adoption.
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