Jose Muñoz illegally immigrated to the United States with his family from Mexico when he was a toddler, but when President Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals last summer, Muñoz thought he had a chance to avoid deportation. The problem? To qualify for deferment, Muñoz had to provide proof of continuous residency in the U.S. since June 2007.
Muñoz graduated high school in 2005 and hadn't worked since, so he lacked proper documentation of his residency since 2007. That's when Muñoz consulted with a lawyer who came up with an unorthodox way to keep him in the country:
"At some point in the consultation, I learned that he played video games and, although I'm 41, that's an interest of mine," said Odrcic. The two got to talking about their mutual love of games and the ones they owned.
"Then it dawned on me that he may have some record of the games he had purchased or something that shows he's been here since 2007," he said.
Muñoz had an Xbox Live account and, with it, had downloaded demos and games and communicated with other Xbox users.
"He sent me the proof of this that had his address, his account information and proof of all the games he had downloaded or purchased since 2007. It worked perfectly to establish that he's been here continuously," Odrcic said.
Along with the pages and pages of video game records, Muñoz included a notarized affidavit stating that he was including "true and correct copies of my Xbox purchase history."
As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, this video game record was all the proof U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement needed:
In two months, the letter arrived granting Muñoz deferred status and the chance to build a new life.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "It took a couple of days for me to realize how big this was. My older sister cried."
The family celebrated by going out for a Chinese dinner.
Muñoz now has a driver's license. He bought a car. He went out and found not one, but two jobs. He works at a factory and on his days off works at a restaurant. "I work seven days a week, but that's OK because I'm saving money to go to school and help my family," he said.
"After all that time that I was so bored, now I don't like having a day off. I've had enough days off," he said. "I can finally do what I want to do because nothing is holding me back."