Family struggles with immigration
VERACRUZ, Mexico – After more than a day-and-a-half of driving through northern and central Mexico, the Armentas finally arrived at Carlos Armenta’s hometown.It was a difficult trip for the Minturn family. Armenta, his wife, Cindy Goodwin, their two young sons, and some of Armenta’s family stopped only for food, bathroom breaks and gas. As they neared Veracruz, they were stopped several times by police.”They made up offenses that we did, and we had to pay them about $60 in all. It was a really rough trip,” Goodwin said.The family is staying indefinitely in Mexico while Armenta, an illegal immigrant, tries to find a way to stay in the United States.Although Goodwin, 31, and her sons Denzel and Carlitos, were born-and-raised American citizens, Carlos Armenta was not. He came to the United States in 2000 looking for work. After he and Goodwin were married, the couple started looking for way for Armenta to stay in the country legally.The family was featured in an August article as Armenta was trying to apply for a visa and a waiver from immigration officials that would pardon his illegal status. If he does not get the waiver, he could be banned from re-entering the country for 10 years.Since then, Armenta applied for a visa in Ciudad Juarez, the city across the Texas border, but was denied, Goodwin said. Armenta tried to apply for an appointment to file his waiver, which can only be done online, but was unable to get through the system for almost a month.”We have been staying up all night trying to use the Internet, and family members and friends in the U.S. have been trying, and no one has been able to get through. It always said, ‘No appointments available,'” Goodwin said.The immigration offices in Juarez have been overwhelmed with cases, which may have caused the delays. Applicants like Armenta just have to keep trying, a Juarez immigration agent said. Also, according to an advisory from the immigration agency in Juarez, some people have been using fake names to take up appointment slots and sell them to real applicants.Armenta finally made a waiver appointment for Oct. 24. Meanwhile, his family is waiting in Veracruz for the decision, but adjustments have been hard, Goodwin said.Both she and her sons, ages 1 and 3, have been very sick since they arrived, she said.”Both the boys have fever and diarrhea. Carlitos has had vomiting, and Denzel had some kind of strange rash, and now he has a cold. I’ve been sick, too,” Goodwin wrote via e-mail.The climate and culture are difficult to get used to, and people are always staring at them because they are “gueros,” or “white blondies,” she said.”But we’ll survive, I guess, for the meantime,” she said. “We really want to go home, though.”Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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