GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Yesenia Arreola and her supporters have won the fight to bring her husband home after the U.S. Consulate in Juarez, Mexico, denied his permanent resident application.
Colorado Mountain College’s Youth Outreach Coordinator and mother of 3-year-old Ian hopes that life will soon return to normal, or something close to it.
Sen. Michael Bennett, AJUA, Colorado Immigrants Right Coalition, Yesenia’s students and colleagues at CMC, and supporters in the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond, helped Arreola’s husband, Jorge, return to the United States from Mexico as a permanent resident in the near future.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expedited and granted Jorge the waivers he needed in less than a month.
“I am so thankful to everyone who supported me through this difficult situation. It has been my fellow community and supporters who have made this possible,” Arreola said.
Last August, USCIS granted Jorge a stateside waiver under the Obama administration’s initiative to reduce the amount of time spouses of U.S. citizens must spend outside the United States to weeks rather than up to six months or more.
But the stateside waiver waives only the “unlawful presence” bar to entry — one of 70 provisions that say “no” in U.S. immigration law.
The consulate in Juarez found Jorge had another bar to entry. “We have a broken immigration system,” Arreola said. “We followed the system, we did everything we were told, even got approved in each step and still got denied. I definitely feel like I was ambushed by my own government.”
Arreola and her husband had to start seeking waivers all over again. Arreola turned to attorney Ted Hess for help.
Hess and his assistants produced a 475-page waiver package and requested that it be expedited.
“With Yesenia’s hard work and help of her friends, the waiver was approved in record time,” Hess said. “When we say we have a broken immigration system, we really mean it.”
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have my husband back soon, but my heart breaks to think of the hundreds of thousands of families who lose their loved ones each year to deportation and the brokenness of our immigration laws,” Arreola said. “I know that both Congress and the president can do more. They must both take action to stop separating families.”