What “Standing in the Back of the Line” Looks Like

I am looking at you, Mitt Romney, and all the GOP candidates who insist that legally migrating to this country means taking a number as if it were the line at the DMV.

Here is what “standing in the back of the line” looks like: waiting three years to be united with your U.S.-born wife and son, only to be allowed into the country for “humanitarian purposes” when that son dies. Even then, in the case of the undocumented father, Fildemar Merlos López, the request to attend his son’s funeral in the States was denied.

Here is the update at the Mojado Citizen blog:

A Mexican man will be finally able to travel to his 10-year-old son’s burial in Pennsylvania after immigration officials granted his request for humanitarian permission to enter the United States, according to a Facebook message from a representative of the law office representing him.

Fildemar Merlos López has been stranded near Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, for the past days after Customs and Border Protection officials denied his request for humanitarian permission to enter the country.

He travelled there soon after he found out that his son, Demian López, 10, had died in the March 27 fire along his two cousins and his aunt in Shenandoah, Penn.

Merlos Lopez had been in Mexico for the last three years while his application for legal status after marrying Danielle Lopez, an American citizen. Demian is Lopez’ son from a previous marriage.

After 15 years of living in Frackville, Penn., Lopez was detained for a traffic violation and wound up under Immigration and Customs Enforcement’ custody.

Lopez would later sign his voluntary departure and applied for resident status once he arrived in Mexico City.

“My son would ask me why I was away, but I never told him. I wanted to wait for him to grow up so he could really understand the reason why I had to go away”, Lopez told blog Mojado Citizen.

No father should have to wait years to be re-united with his family — much less his U.S.-born family. Shame on the GOP for painting our immigration laws as anything less than inhumane.

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

3 thoughts on “What “Standing in the Back of the Line” Looks Like

  1. This is why the immigration lawyer advised my sister in law to stay in the country and marry my brother even though it meant that she was “undocumented” for some time. She had been over on a student/work-type visa and it was about to expire. The lawyer told them that if she went back to Poland, it would take years to straighten out her status and get her “documented” as my brother’s wife. So, they married here and she stayed. Even with the lawyer, it took a couple of years and several thousand dollars to get her “green card”. They lived with my parents during this point, and my nephew was born during this period, too.

    • Right. If you’re already in the country, and *if* you entered legally in the first place (and *if* there’s no way that fraud could be suspected), it’s easier to stay. That’s how we did it (I bet your SIL had the same sort of visa that Expat did). To get the provisional green card took about 6 months and cost about $1000, then two years later and another $600 for the full green card and another year and $600 for citizenship. (Fees are much higher now, though.) But we were basically the textbook case of people who immigration authorities aren’t suspicious of—we were the same age and about the average age for a first marriage, both from industrialized countries, same race, same native language. So we had it really easy.

      I suspect that Mr. Merlos López was what we call an EWI, someone who entered without inspection by the immigration authorities—they are not allowed to apply for benefits from within the country, only from overseas and only with a hardship waiver. So he couldn’t have stayed here and applied.

      I assume that your brother and SIL were also married before the K3 visa was introduced. The K3 is a visa that you can get that allows you to come to the US while your marriage green card application is pending instead of having to wait for the green card to come through (you send in a K3 visa application with the marriage green card application) and it expires when the green card is adjudicated. They usually don’t take much longer than any other sort of temporary visa (which varies by country and can be up to a year but is usually more like 3-6 months). K3 visas are also not available to people who entered without inspection, which is why I think that must be the case for Mr. Merlos.

  2. My cousin has a husband that lives in Mexico and a US born child who is 6? I am not sure of all of the details, but they are married, in love, have a kid together and are separated by paperwork. That just makes me sick! Fortunately she is able to go and visit him about once a year, but meanwhile her daughter grows older, missing out on having a Father in her life.

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