Dream of: 15 September 1991 "Petition Granted"

I was standing in front of a court house with two men whom I was going to represent in court. They were both Mexicans, a father and a son. The father appeared to be around 50 years old and the son around 30 years old. Paz and Carolina were also there, for they knew the two men, and they had persuaded me to help them. I was assisting them in an immigration matter; I would be attempting to legalize their status in the United States. I pulled out two affidavits, one signed by the father, the other signed by the son. The words on the affidavits had been cut out from another paper and pasted on the ones I had.

I needed to make a change on each affidavit regarding the port of entry of the men. We had pasted on the name of one location which I knew was wrong, and I thought about how that would have been stupid of me to go before the judge with a false affidavit. Surely the officials would have been able to determine where the true port of entry had been. I pulled off the name of the place which was on top, and under it were several other names pasted on. I pulled off each one in succession until I reached the bottom one, Varon, which was the correct one. In my mind I could see a map which showed the names of various cities along a river, and the line for the road over the river at each city. I looked until I saw Varon, and knew that was where they had crossed.

I had no sooner finished than a woman from the court stepped up and took the documents from me to take them inside to present to the judge. I knew that meant that we were late, and although I would have liked to have talked to the men some more, we hustled in and stood before the judge, who was just seating himself at the bench. The judge was probably in his late 30s, slender and tall. He reminded me of bankruptcy judge Clark from west Texas. The men stood next to me on my right, the father closest to me. Paz and Carolina stood farther away on my left.

With the judge obviously in a hurry, I wasted no time in beginning to question the men. Since neither of my clients spoke any English, I spoke entirely in Spanish to them. I debated whether I should first question one and then go on to the other, or just question them both at the same time. I decided on the later and began by telling them I would be asking each of them the same questions which they would each respond to. I first asked, "Donde nacio usted?"

The father answered that he had been born in El Salvador. I immediately knew that we had a problem, for his affidavit said he was a citizen of Mexico. I inquired further and he told me he had lived in Mexico since he was five, but that he was a "member of the British Empire." I realized El Salvador used to be a part of the British Empire at the time he had been born, which accounted for his statement.

Obviously I hadn't been prepared or I would have asked him about this crucial fact earlier; but I thought the judge had probably seen many unprepared lawyers in front of him. If the judge followed the law, he would reject the man's application. And indeed the judge tossed his affidavit in front of me and said "rechazado."

I felt embarrassed for being so unprepared, but thought I would just have to continue on with the son, who was now standing next to me on my left. I asked him where he had been born and he responded "Tlaxco." He had to repeat it several times before we really understood him. But the judge didn't know where it was. I told him I thought it was west of Mexico City and north of Taxco, in the silver mining area, although I didn't know whether any silver was mined there. I told him I wasn't sure that was where the city was, but I thought it was there. He seemed satisfied and impatient to continue, so I asked more questions.

I asked the son how old he was; when he answered, it sounded as if he said "diez y seis." Since I knew he was more than sixteen I asked him again. I gradually began to notice that he almost seemed retarded and he didn't seem to have much grasp of what was going on. The judge also seemed puzzled by his answer. Finally the son answered something that sounded like thirty six, and we continued on.

I asked him what he was going to do in the United States, and he said he was going to work for someone named Howard. The judge knew who he was talking about; the judge said Howard supplied marijuana to George H. W. Bush. Realizing that obviously didn't sound good, I hastened to another question.

All the while, the judge was writing on a check which I had put before him. The judge seemed unconcerned with the answers, as if he wanted to grant my petition as long as I didn't make any fatal mistakes, such as I had done with the father. What was needed was for the judge to put his signature on the check along with mine. As I looked, I realized there were actually two checks; it appeared that the judge had already signed them both. So I thought I should end my questioning as quickly as possible.

I asked the son what he was going to be doing in the United States, but seeming more retarded than ever, he couldn't give an answer, Finally I asked, "Usted ha estado condenado de un crimen grave?"

I knew that if he had been convicted of a felony, he would be ineligible. I also realized I actually didn't know the answer to the question. He mumbled his answer, but it sounded as if he said he had been convicted of various crimes. I was about to pass to something else as quickly as I could, when the son grabbed me as if he were going to kiss me and pulled me to the ground. It took me a moment to extricate myself from him and pull myself back up. When he also rose to his feet, I told the judge we were finished. It was late, almost 8.

The judge seemed relieved that it was over. He had obviously granted my petition, but said that I needed to be more careful with all the details in the future. Apparently I had misspelled something in the affidavit. And he told me he had seen another case I had done for someone named Coleman where I had left a "G" off one of the words. I was just relieved that it was over; I would try to be more prepared in the future.

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