For feeling very brave and launching air shots, Martín Godínez suffered to obtain his legal stay in the United States, but a pardon helps him to become a permanent resident of the country he emigrated 36 years ago in search of a better life .

Martin, a Las Vegas lawyer charged $ 8,000 to clear his record and erase the mistake of owning a gun. "All he did was clean my wallet. He never did anything and made me lose two years", talk.

The moral of Martin's story, says immigration lawyer Alex Gálvez, is that if you are undocumented you should never possess or carry weapons or throw yourself into the air.

The immigration lawyer Alex Gálvez gives Martin Godínez his permanent resident card. Lidia Quiroz, Martín's wife, serves as a witness. (Aurelia Ventura / The Opinion)

However, in countries like Mexico it is a cultural issue to shoot in the air as a sign of celebration in times like Christmas or New Year, in the United States it is completely punished.

"An undocumented immigrant should never take a weapon or carry it, and many go to the hill to shoot. On long weekends, many undocumented immigrants go to the hills and when they go down, there are the forest officers waiting for them to stop them ”, emphasizes the lawyer Gálvez.

"The most they can do is go to a shooting center where they rent a gun to shoot inside, but they ask you for identification," he says.

With his residence card in his hand, Martín does not fit with happiness, but he throws a warning to immigrants.

"They do not get into a shirt of eleven rods. We are immigrants and come here to work and contribute. Not to tear apart”, Says Martín, an immigrant from Guanajuato, Mexico.

Martin got into trouble with American justice when it occurred to him to buy a gun to scare away the coyotes who were stalking the sheep that he looked after in a ranch in Colorado.

“One day I felt very brave. I started shooting into the air. So they took me to jail, accused me of possession of weapons and arrested me one day, ”he says.

Martin Godínez achieves the dream of being a resident of the USA> (Aurelia Ventura / La Opinion)

With the passage of time the opportunity presented that he and his wife Lidia Quiroz could fix their immigration status because years ago, a brother had made a residence request for them and his turn on the waiting list had already arrived . In addition his own son Martin had already turned 21 and also requested his residence.

“I was able to obtain my residence without any problem in 2016, but my husband was afraid of the history of the weapon,” says Lidia.

It was not until he met the lawyer Gálvez de Los Angeles, who without having to clean his background, got his residence. "When it is a possession of a weapon it looks ugly on paper, but there is an exception to the law when one becomes a resident, the possession of a weapon is not a serious crime. That yes we had to ask for forgiveness, but it helped Martin who has a very good moral driver and many things in his favor, such as his citizen son, his resident wife, timely payment of taxes, a good job. The only spot in his past was the possession of a weapon“, Observe.

“I don't drink or smoke. I've never done. I have never asked the government for social assistance. When I came to the United States, I followed my dad's advice, work and be honest. My only mistake was buying me a gun and shooting myself in the air. I am very sorry, ”Martin acknowledges.

On Thursday, September 19, 2019, Galvez handed him his permanent resident card.

Martin Godinez recommends undocumented immigrants not to carry weapons because that can delay their access to permanent residence in the United States. (Aurelia Ventura / The Opinion)

As if it were yesterday

This immigrant from Pénjamo, Guanajuato remembers as if it were yesterday, the day he arrived in Los Angeles when he was 16 years old.

“I entered the United States like everyone else. I paid 250 dollars to a coyote to bring me to Los Angeles and I arrived here on March 10, 1983. I had a brother in Fresno, some cousins ​​in Los Angeles and two brothers in Colorado, ”he recalls.

Martín worked for a while in Fresno in the cultivation of the orange. Later his brothers who lived in Colorado came for him to take him to Colorado.

“They put me to work with a rancher who had sheep,” he recalls. Immediately, he began to study English. "I was convinced that the only way to get by was to speak English," he says.

Unfortunately, he lost the opportunity to obtain residence during the Reagan Amnesty, although for some years he had access to a work permit, which allowed him to travel to Mexico several times to see his parents.

Martín Godínez and his wife Lidia Quiroz when they married in Mexico. (Aurelia Ventura / The Opinion)

On one of those trips, he met his wife today Lidia. “His parents had a restaurant in Pénjamo and they were very good friends of mine, but I didn't know,” he says.

Martín went to eat at the place and met Lidia. He was enchanted by his beauty and sympathy. “I told him that if he wanted to come with me to the United States. He replied that little paper, spoke. He meant he wouldn't come with me if there was no marriage involved, ”he laughs.

Before returning to the United States, he asked for his phone number. And so a year passed between loving phone calls until on June 14, 1993, less than a year after they met, they got married in their town.

“I always wanted to marry a Mexican. My father said that "for Jaral's mares, the riders there," he says fascinated.

Martin did have a way to return legally to the United States, but his wife Lidia did not.

"On that occasion I paid $ 500 to cross my wife," he recalls.

Martín Godínez with his only son named after him. (Aurelia Ventura / The Opinion)

Martín and Lidia had Martín, their only child in the United States. The boy is 25 years old.
With the United States resident card, this 55-year-old Mexican immigrant could not be happier.

"It is a great happiness. Thanks to my effort, I have my own home, a very good job, my family, but I felt tied up because although the cage is gold it does not stop being a prison when you are undocumented”, Says Martín, who works very hard as a supervisor in a construction company in Las Vegas.


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