EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – An Idaho couple stranded in Mexico has enlisted the help of a U.S. senator’s office to help the woman reunite with her children back in Twin Falls.
An immigration officer at the U.S. Consulate in Juarez earlier this month slapped a 10-year entry ban on Miriam Herrera, who is applying for permanent residency on a spousal visa. She and her husband, Twin Falls businessman Baldemar Herrera, are staying in a South Juarez house while their three U.S.-born children remain in Idaho under a relative’s care.
The husband said he requested the help of U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and the consulate has since reached out to his wife for additional documentation.
“Once the senator got a hold of it, they did an investigation. […] Then the consulate asked for my wife’s passport. We’re waiting to see if they’re going to approve (the visa). We hope that is the case and that’s why they asked for the passport,” Baldomero Herrera said.
Crapo’s office would neither confirm nor deny the senator’s involvement.
“Due to privacy concerns, our office cannot comment on any casework or efforts that have been undertaken regarding specific individuals,” said Melanie Lawhorn, the senator’s press secretary. “As has been our practice, if asked by an individual to assist with problems with federal agencies, our office will advocate to ensure that the individual is treated fairly and offered all options available regarding their specific circumstances.”
She said that if the constituent wishes to divulge his or her experience, “they are welcome to do so.”
A local immigration law expert earlier told Border Report that petitions for foreign-born relatives or spouses of U.S. citizens (Form I-130) have a high approval rate but cannot be taken for granted.
Miriam Herrera said the hitch stems from her father having taken her to the United States without authorization twice when she was 5 and 7 years old. She said her lawyers were confident that wouldn’t be a problem because her father told her it was a short stay. The immigration officer told her the stay was more than a year. Herrera’s father is deceased and there’s no way for U.S. immigration to verify what he told his daughter.
“Our life is back in Idaho with our kids. […] we talk to them on a daily basis in the morning and at night. We told them there’s a situation here and it’s going to take a bit longer for us to get back,” Baldomero Herrera said. “It’s been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Right now, we’re OK, but all that we care about is getting back to our life in Idaho.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says those who’ve been denied spousal or relative petitions can file appeals with the Board of Immigration Appeals or file a new application altogether. The agency’s website, however, admits that USCIS sometimes makes mistakes.