Drama, Genealogy, Immigration, Rant

My life was a lie.

Just kidding, it wasn’t that dramatic.  My dad’s parents are Joe Conde and Amelia Juarez Rangel, although I didn’t really think about that until recently.  I wasn’t very close to these grandparents because, when I was born to teenage parents who did the best they could (a damn good job if you ask me), these grandparents didn’t feel old enough to be grandma and grandpa.  Amelia also tried to convince my dad I wasn’t his daughter.  I thought of her when my dad’s DNA results came in and did a little jig, even though we never doubted I am my father’s daughter.

My last name was Rangel, as was my dad’s, so I always assumed that was my grandfather’s last name.  Later I noticed some of my aunts and uncles were Conde.  As I got into genealogy I neglected my dad’s side because I feel very distant from them.  As time went on, I questioned my dad’s (and his dad’s) last name.  First off, it’s weird that my father has his mom’s maiden name but I had him join the Rangel Project at Family Tree DNA just in case.  I couldn’t find a Conde project.  In any case my father’s Y-DNA at 12 markers has no matches.  None!

My dad asked an older brother about all of this, and my uncle admitted to having asked my grandfather because he also had his suspicions.  My uncle said that my grandfather admitted his last name was false and told him his real last name which my uncle did not remember although he said “it sounded very indigenous.”

My paternal grandparents, Joe Conde and Amelia Juarez Rangel.  Some of their children were named Rangel, like my dad, and others Conde.
My paternal grandparents, Joe Conde and Amelia Juarez Rangel. Some of their children were named Rangel, like my dad, and others Conde.
Dad's mom, 5th down. Here is a record of Amelia Juarez Rangel's birth on October 17, 1941 to Maria Rangel and Benito Juarez.
Dad’s mom, 5th down. Here is a record of Amelia Juarez Rangel’s birth on October 17, 1941 to Maria Rangel and Benito Juarez.
1940 census
In 1940 we see Amelia Juarez Rangel’s parents, Maria Rangel and Benito Juarez living with Benito’s family. Benito’s father Miguel is the farmer and his sons are farm laborers, suggesting that Miguel Juarez owned the land. Interestingly, living with them are some Conde relatives. I think this is how my grandfather Joe Conde took his last name.
1930 census
In 1930 we see a very young Maria Rangel living with her family. This seeks to explain the different last names used by my father’s family: Conde, Juarez, and Rangel

AJR tombstone

Drama, Explanations, Genealogy, Immigration, Rant

So that Finding Your Roots Episode Got Me Thinking…

Purely speculation.

According to the New Mexico project on FTDNA:

“DNA studies on Hispanics show a higher European admixture. *Anthropologist Andrew Merriwether and colleagues conducted a study on Hispanics living in Colorado. Using classic genetic markers they estimated an admixture of 67% European and 33% Native-American.

He further tested their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is a test to find the origins of your great, great…grandmother, going back 10’s of thousands of years. This one ancestor which is your families “Eve” so to speak, showed up as Native-American 85% of the time and European in origin 15% of the time. Thus showing that the majority of unions in this admixture were of European males and Native-American females.”

Why does my maternal genetic history reflect a European female rather than a Native American female (The Mystery of Juana Ortega)? I’ll be honest, since skin color and appearance aren’t reliable indicators of genetic heritage I was really hoping for a strong Native American ancestry.  I think many Americans desire that feeling of rootedness and since my family is Hispanic it wouldn’t be far-fetched at all to assume.

I haven’t researched my father’s side but that’s largely due to 1) not being close to or identifying with them and 2) not being able to get truth from them.  For example, as I was preparing my family history for Case 2, I noticed my father’s birth certificate clearly states that my  grandfather is white (ok, not uncommon, all of my ancestors are listed as white) and that he was born in Texas.  My paternal grandfather is most definitely not white (I could be wrong since I’m going by phenotype) and he recently won his immigration case allowing him to stay in the US after some 50+ years of living here, paying taxes, and owning a business.  I’m certain he was born in Puebla.  I hope I don’t get my father or grandfather in trouble, but how does that happen?  Let’s pretend my father’s name is John Peterson Jr.  I would assume my grandfather’s name was John Peterson and my grandmother’s name was Woman Father’slastname Mother’slastname (Spanish naming custom).  Well, my grandfather must have provided a false name on the birth certificate.  According to the birth certificate my grandfather’s name was John Mother’slastname.  He took my grandmother’s mother’s maiden name for the birth certificate and no one questioned it!

My paternal grandmother, A. Juarez Rangel. Haplogroup A2d1a

This would probably show up as the much desired Native American I was hoping for but since it’s on my father’s side it has the potential to fade over a handful of generations.  I didn’t inherit something genetically lasting from him or my paternal grandmother.  I’m still young enough to be able to say DH and I would like to have children in the future, so I must ask, what would they inherit from me?  Let’s say we lost our immigration case, went back to Europe and started a family.  After 5 generations would I be that darker-skinned, strong-cheekboned woman in old pictures my family thinks might have been a Real Native American?  I guess that happens more often than not.

At this point in my research my maternal line is still in New Mexico.

*Interesting tidbit: My paternal grandmother A. Juarez Rangel was born in 1941.  I was able to find her parents on the 1940 census and her Texas credentials check out.  I noted that the year before she was born, her family had some cousins staying with them that have the same last name (his real last name, not Rangel) as  my paternal grandfather, her future husband.  Hmmm.

Drama, Explanations, Genealogy, Immigration, Rant

About that Canada plan…

Over a year ago, our state legislature passed a law effectively barring undocumented students from attending our community colleges, after implementing similar rules in 2006 at our state universities.  This forced a lot of undocumented students, including my straight A husband who is also legally barred from accepting scholarships despite his hard work, to drop out of school. After a lot of brainstorming and plotting for the past year+ we were unable to find a viable option for him to return to school thus far.

First we tried applying to the University of North Dakota.  The tuition was reasonable and the admissions people were very nice and helpful but we hit a wall when they asked for DH’s I-94 since DH could not be classified as an in-state or out-of-state student.  We also applied to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with the same experience.  This American university plan was not going to work.

Then we tried applying to the University of New Brunswick in Canada.  DH was accepted for the Fall 2011 semester and under the advice of an attorney specializing in Canadian immigration, we asked to be processed at the Canadian embassy in California.  Months passed, we asked the university to defer his entry (Spring 2012) which they did, then we received our application back stating that they could not process the application.  DH scrambled to reapply to UNB for Fall 2012 and send the student visa application to the Canadian consulate in Romania, where Bulgarians are served.

This week we learned that our application was refused based on DH’s current immigration status.  We were told they are not confident we will leave Canada after DH’s course of study to which we argued that our plan was to take advantage of Bulgaria’s membership in the European Union to find work in an English-speaking country after our visas expired.  They basically told us not to reapply unless DH’s status changed.  I think we’ve exhausted our escape route options, so we’ll see what happens next.

I’ve been researching my family history in the meantime because it felt good to be consumed by something other than worry.  I’m the type of person who obsesses over things, so the distraction from our situation is great.  My family has roots all over the American Southwest and I was surprised to learn of immigrants in our family history just a few generations back, and more surprised to learn that our roots extend to Europe.  This new information has reminded me that people will always seek the opportunity to better their lives.  The U.S. would do well to remember our roots.

Drama, Immigration

Change of Address Forms?

DH’s family was called in to ICE’s Phoenix Enforcement and Removal Office today (2035 N. Central Ave 85004). We had known about the appointment since the beginning of the month and tried figuring out exactly what was going to occur when they arrived. DH, his brother, and his mother were the only people called in. His father, the main applicant, was not summoned.

Those of you familiar with USCIS probably know that unless your name is on the summons you aren’t allowed inside the building at all. So my father-in-law and I waited outside this morning for about an hour.  I was expecting bad or neutral news so I was happy to see them exit the building, DH’s younger brother was visibly disappointed in not having any good news.  He was hoping that their order of removal would be dropped under the Obama Administration’s exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

There was a lot of speculation leading up to the appointment with those of the glass-half-full variety suspecting some grand move by ICE while the-sky-is-falling crowd (me) imagined the family being forcibly removed.

What actually occurred was: the three mentioned were asked to fill out change of address forms if necessary (they weren’t).  What the hell is that?  They do that sort of thing by mail or online.  I think this is a bullshit cover story.  I have this pessimistic idea that ICE is calling people in and, if the situation dictates so, are detaining and removing people immediately.  Has anyone else experienced this?  One can never be too sure with that wily bunch.

Drama, Explanations, Immigration

Change of Plans

Since DH’s case (case 1) has been in the 9th Circuit for so long, the last plan in place was for me to finish school & find a job, and for DH to continue working and taking classes.  The worst case scenario we had planned for was an enforced order of removal in the family’s case, so we were hoping he would be able to finish a 2 year degree (some schools abroad that we were looking at would accept them for transfer).  This was kind of dependent upon my finding a job abroad with my life sciences degree; at least if we were suddenly living abroad we wouldn’t be completely shit out of luck.  I have seen people get by with less so I figured we could be ok too.

We at least had a place to live, DH’s job, and his classes here.  We were going to stand strong and I would eventually find a job, even if it was a temporary job not in my field (I have since been told I am unqualified to be a housekeeper.  I’d like that employer to know I am good at keeping house, thank you very mucho.).

Things we did not consider:

  1. I would be unemployed for so long
  2. Arizona really sucks
  3. Fate and reality would conspire against us

I am in my 6th month of job deficiency and while DH’s job has been good (great boss, nice coworkers, overall good opportunity that other people don’t have so we’re grateful) it won’t be enough if it’s all we have.

The Maricopa Community College Board decided to raise tuition rates for undocumented students “out of state students taking less than 6 credits a semester”  (previously blogged about here) so DH can’t attend school anymore.  He is 4 classes away from an A.S.  This reinforces point number 2.

All we have left here is DH’s job which is hardly anything at all.  We can’t stay here and do nothing.  Maybe it’s a little desperate and dumb considering we could hear from the 9th Circuit soon, but we’re thinking of leaving.  I am currently studying at home for a Pharmacy Tech certification and if I’m able to do it, we might be able to move to a state with lower tuition rates in the next 2-3 months.  We have a couple in mind, and students are given in-state residency (for tuition purposes) if their spouses are residents of those states.  We think this would apply to us but haven’t heard back from the admissions councilors yet.  In any case their out-of-state tuition rates are half of ours anyway.  This could all be a huge waste of resources if DH’s family is to be deported but it beats sitting around waiting for them to decide how we live our lives.

So here goes nothing.

Drama, Immigration, Rant

230% Increase in Tuition Fees for Undocumented Students

The Maricopa Community Colleges used to charge $96 per credit hour for anyone taking 6 credit hours or less a semester.  This is how many undocumented students were able to attend class, including my husband.  This is a very slow and frustrating route to higher education, but at least it made education possible.  A student could take two 3-credit classes  for about $576 or a class with a long lab for about $384.

This is no more, at least in this district.  The district board has decided to increase the fees to $317 per credit hour.  Your average three credit hour class will now cost an undocumented student $915 and with no chance for financial aid, means the end of dreams for many students. The new rates go in to effect in July.

Last month, the Phoenix New Times reported that Board President, Mr. Lumm, warned students that the measure was intended to target undocumented students.  Many members disagreed, especially Debra Pearson, who is a member of the Minuteman Civil Dense Defense Corps.

Some students have decided to leave Arizona in hopes of finding schools with lower tuition rates and less strict residency rules.  My husband and I are planning to save a little money before we look for another school for him to attend.