5:16pm

Wed September 25, 2013
Arts & Culture

IMMIGRATION STORIES: Cynthia Garcia

The Board of Supervisors passed legislation yesterday that could affect undocumented immigrants living in San Francisco. Under the new Due Process for All ordinance, local law enforcement will not be required to hold undocumented immigrants for federal authorities if they are otherwise due to be released. Up until now, they’ve been required to hold detainees--for at least 48 hours--under a federal program called Secure Communities. Supervisor John Avalos is against the federal policy because of how it plays out in immigrant communities.

“There’s a fear of actually contacting the police when there’s a crime happening, and people are afraid that’s going to lead to people being deported, perhaps a family member, perhaps they themselves being caught up in the system,” Avalos says.

Avalos has been on the front lines of immigration reform to rid the city of this law. Again, yesterday, the Board of Supervisors voted to pass an ordinance that makes it illegal for local police to detain anyone based on immigration status alone.

For the past month Crosscurrents has been bringing you stories of immigrants living in the Bay Area. Today, a young woman from France shares her story about trying to stay in the city with a specialized work visa.

Cynthia came to Bay Area in October 2009 with her boyfriend on a tourist video. After staying here for six months, she found an organization that was willing to help her get a training visa, or an H-3 visa. But after nearly six months of assembling her application with the help of her sponsor organization and lawyer, she was ultimately refused.

Cynthia Garcia:

I received an official paper that said 'You have to leave the country'.

I was destroyed, I just cried I couldn't believe that. I was traveling at that time and I thought, this is impossible, my organization put so much effort into something that in the end was probably 100 pages of research and proof that I was willing, they were willing my lawyer was willing. So there was a lot of frustration and also... I was lost. I didn't know where to go. I didn't have any money.

I wondered about the adjunct who stamped my file. What was his research?I wondered: why did he decide not to give it to me."