“I was born into my father’s arms,” David responded emphatically when I asked him about his relationship with his mother. David’s father, Ronald, has been his teacher, his guardian, his provider, and his support for his entire life. He taught David to be strong and gentle, proud and humble. David inherited Ronald’s kind eyes, his honest nature, his palpable presence, and his immovable strength. The first, last, and only time David met his mother was on January 23, 1965 – the day he was born. Ronald raised two children, David and his sister Roxanne, as a single parent.
When David was a young boy, Ronald immigrated to the United States to start a new life for his family. In October 1972, at the age of seven, David joined his father in New York. A year later, Ronald naturalized (became a U.S. citizen), and believed that David was now a citizen as well. David lived the typical American life: he went to public schools, was an avid fitness buff, and eventually started his own business as a personal trainer. Unfortunately, in the late 1980s, David fell in with the wrong crowd. He was convicted of assault and drug possession, sentenced to federal prison in suburban Texas, and soon became a target for immigration authorities, who questioned his citizenship.