KYUK: Bethel Resident Becky Trimble Faces Deportation, But Gets Help From Neighbors
A Bethel resident is facing deportation. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has ordered Becky Trimble to leave the country by this Saturday, March 14, but Trimble has lived in this country since she was three days old. She didn’t know she wasn’t a U.S. citizen until she was 22. She shared how she’s feeling, and what she plans to do.
On Feb. 10, Trimble received a letter with the potential to upend her and her family’s life.
“My husband opened it up first. His face just kind of, like, dropped, and I was like ‘what, what is it?’” Trimble said. “My littlest, he got a little tissue and he was wiping my eyes for me, you know, like ‘what’s wrong mommy?’”
The letter was from the federal government. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ordered Trimble to leave the country within 33 days or risk being deported. The reason cited was that Trimble had voted illegally in the 2008 presidential election.
“I wasn’t a citizen,” Trimble said.
Trimble’s parents adopted her when she was three days old, bringing her into the U.S. from Mexico. She says she went most of her life just assuming she was a U.S. citizen. She had gotten a job, a driver’s license, and she had voted.
“In high school, it was senior year. It was a very big election, 2008. We could make history,” Trimble remembered.
At 19 years old, everyone around her was telling her that voting was the right thing to do. Trimble told the USCIS that she had no idea that she wasn’t a U.S. citizen when she cast her ballot, but USCIS said that it was still illegal.
“I feel like there are holes in the system and that I just need to be looked at as an individual, and not just over a letter,” Trimble said.
The 33-day deadline that USCIS gave Trimble ends this Saturday, but she says that she’s not worried.
“I just don’t feel like they could deport me when there’s just nowhere to go,” Trimble said. “There’s no proof [of where] to send me.”
That’s because Trimble doesn’t have a real birth certificate, not even from Mexico. The one her adoptive parents received from her birth mother in Mexico turned out to be a fake, and she doesn’t believe that the United States is going to send her to a country she doesn’t even officially belong to.
“Who knows if they even want me?” Trimble said with a laugh. “I’m going to stay here and just live out normal life, and just kind of see how things play out. It’s still scary because, of course, they could probably detain me, but I feel at peace that things are going to work out and that I’m safe.”
Trimble has heard encouraging news about her situation from Alaska’s statesmen. She’s received a personal call from U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski and from Gov. Mike Dunleavy, both assuring her that they are advocating on her behalf. State Representative Tiffany Zulkosky has also been working on bringing attention to the issue.
Trimble is both overwhelmed and touched by the support her story has received.
“I just want to thank Bethel,” Trimble said. “You guys just pulled together like a rock, and thank you for all the love and support and prayer or meals or just advice, love, letters. Thank you.”
By: Greg Kim