Welcome to America! My cousin, Sionie Sales finally arrived in the US after a 26 year wait for her visa! She was finally reunited with her brother, Peter Aldeza in Chicago last November 2009. Peter, a US born citizen, petitioned her sister when she was still single. Now, Sionie’s a grandmother. This personal story was recently featured at a recent Chicago Tribune article last December 27, 2009. Her true story illustrates the long waits in the current, broekn US immigrant visa system.
My cousin Sionie’s reunion with her brother brings a bittersweet ending. She was excited to be reunited with Peter but she had to leave her children behind. It might even take several more years in visa limbo before she could reunite with her children. And so the broken promise of reuniting families keeps repeating itself.
At first, Sionie was shy, nervous and unsure if she would like to tell her story to a reporter. But finally, I convinced her. I told ther that perhaps if one US Representative or Senator would read her tragic story in the paper and be moved by the long wait she endured, her personal story might help inspire to push for immigration reform.
I am sure that my cousin’s story of extreme delay is not the exception to the rule. There are many more stories of long waits and separated families out there. Despite Sionie’s long tragic wait, I am hopeful that our legislators in Washington, DC will consider the positive value that immigrants bring despite the overwhelming anti-immigrant hatred being spewed out among conservative circles. I am still hopeful that the American value of fairness and justice will prevail.