By Marlys Good
Marisela Burgos is still living in “exile” in Mexico, where she was detained a year ago (Feb. 20, 2018) because she didn’t have her “immigration pardon” when she and her brother Eduardo were being interviewed in the process of obtaining their permanent residencies in the United States.
Because he was 17 years old at the time, Eduardo did not need the special pardon. It was a different story for Marisela. The GHS grad was enrolled at Casper College and was just 18 years old when she was told by a lawyer that a “pardon” wasn’t necessary.
She got a different story when the interviewer in Mexico asked her if she had the document; he informed her that “since she had turned 18 in the United States, she had to have left six months before turning 19 or gotten the pardon; since she was now 19, she was considered an adult and as an adult she was responsible for being in the U.S. undocumented and therefore would have to serve a three-year sentence.”
Marisela’s mother, father, brothers Eduardo (then a senior at GHS) and Marco, all legal U.S. residents, had to return to Wyoming.
The only solution was to take Marisela to live with her grandmother in Aldama, Chihuahua while she waited for her pardon to be approved.
Marisela has made the best of an unfortunate and unforeseen situation. She has continued her online classes and will be graduating from Casper College in May with her associate’s degree in psychology. She says, “I am definitely glad that I didn’t fall behind and am still on schedule to get my degree.”
Looking for the silver lining, the young lady said she has had the time to get to know her family in Mexico that she hadn’t seen in a long time.
Marisela said she has grown much stronger in the last year.
“It’s been hard being here. I missed my little brother’s graduation and I’ve missed seeing my nephews grow. My whole life has been in Wyoming, and being away — forced away — really sucks. I’ve learned more than anything to never take my family for granted. I would give anything to wake up in my old room, have breakfast with my family and see my old friends again.
“As much as I wish to be able to do all of these things, I’m a different person now. Of course, my family has always been a constant in my life but I know I’ve become a more mature and stronger version of myself. The positive thing about this situation is that I’ve grown and know that if I can handle this – I can handle just about anything.”
Although her older brother has been working to see if there is a way to speed up the process of obtaining the necessary document, Marisela said, “There is still no news – and I don’t think there will be anytime soon. I try and stay hopeful, but it makes it so hard when I hear about everything I’m missing out on.”