My name is Melinde Ramos. I was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. I met my husband, Hector Ramos through mutual friends and we dated for about a year before we got married. My husband is a man that takes care of his family. He’s very kind-hearted and would give his last dollar to someone in need. We have dealt with tragedy and joy during our relationship. In 2010 we found out we were pregnant, but during the sixth month I went into early labor. We lost our son, David Daniel, after a few short hours.
In November of 2011, we found out we were pregnant again. We were extremely happy. My husband and I were relishing every moment of this pregnancy. All that came to an end on March 5th, 2012 when there was a knock at the door. It was ICE and they arrested my husband. You see my husband is from Honduras and in 2005, he was caught trying to cross the border. However, he was allowed to stay in the United States as long as he reported to mandatory court dates. He abided by their terms and showed up to those court dates. He ended up having to go work out of town and the courts sent a letter in the mail with a court date. He never received that letter, but the courts weren’t aware of this. Because he didn’t show, he was issued an Order of Removal. He never received any other letters with court dates. He continued to work and send money home to his son, whom is the reason he came to America.
When he was arrested on March 5th, he was transported to Pearl, Mississippi. I immediately went to where he was being held to see if there was a bond so he could be released. The ICE agents were very rude to me and told me he was not going to be released and that he would be transported to Louisiana. I never got to see my husband. The next day, I was able to get a lawyer with the help of friends. The lawyer went to Louisiana and had Hector sign a Power of Attorney so that I could handle everything for him. The lawyer filed an order in the Court so that he would not be deported and would have a court date. After they transported him to Louisiana, I was only able to see him on Saturdays. With no job and no money, it was hard for me to travel from Jackson, Mississippi to Louisiana. I was able to go twice because friends gave me money to get there and back. The entire time he was there, my lawyers and I called asking if a bond had been set. We were always told no, there was no bond.
About two weeks after my husband was arrested, I was evicted from our home because I couldn’t pay the rent. Hector had always worked and made sure the bills were paid and now I was on my own. I had to sell our furniture because I couldn’t afford a storage room. Because I was 5 months pregnant, I was unable to find work. I bounced around between friends and family’s homes. My husband’s court date was scheduled for Monday, when he called me Thursday evening to tell me that they had made him sign a check but he wasn’t sure what it meant. Immediately, I called the lawyer. What he had signed for was the remaining money in his account at the jail, to buy necessities. They were sending him back to Honduras! The lawyer was unable to reach anyone because it was so late in the evening. By the time they reached anyone the next day, Hector had already been deported. ICE had violated the court order. To make matters worse for us, the entire time he had been held, he had a bond and could have been released until the court date. However, ICE never told us because they wanted to deport him. I was devastated. There I was, pregnant and my husband had just been deported.
I gave birth to our daughter, Daniella Soani, on July 31, 2012. My husband missed her birth and we were both so upset by this. He wanted to be there so bad for us. He got to see his daughter for the first time over Skype. Over the last eight months, Hector has had to miss every milestone of our daughter’s life. We Skype every day so that Daniella will know her Daddy. I pray for the day when Hector will actually have the chance to hold his daughter in his arms.
With the immigration reform being handled by Congress, I am hoping that they will take into consideration families like mine and Hector’s. My husband just wants to be with his family and be able to work and take of us. We want to be able to live together and not just through the emails and Skype.