With the current White House administration’s strict policies on immigration and high impact effort to deport Latinx immigrants from the country, it’s not hard not to question what becomes of these people who leave their family behind, and who must now live in a country they haven’t lived in for years. Other crucial question, pertaining to deportation, arises such as will the person ever be able to come back to the U.S.? The answer is extremely complicated and most likely depends on the person, how the government views the way they initially entered the country, and also their line of work in the U.S.
Forty-seven-year-old Maria Mendoza-Sanchez’s story highlights the impacts of deportation.
In 1994, Mendoza-Sanchez first came to the U.S. without a visa to be with her husband. Through diligence and hard work, Mendoza-Sanchez studied to become an oncology nurse. Both Mendoza-Sanchez and her husband attempted to gain legal status but were unsuccessful and faced deportation as far back as 2013 under the Obama Administration. At the time, Mendoza-Sanchez and her husband were not considered priorities for deportation because they had four children. Efforts to remove them from the country were sped up under the Trump Administration and they were deported to their country of Mexico a year ago despite efforts from supporters, her employer, and even lawmakers.
A year later the nurse has been granted entry back into the United States after her visa was finally approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Out of 200,000 applicants for the H-1B visa, she is one of 65,000 to win the visa through a lottery system. “All the legal hurdles are over,” Camiel Becker, Mendoza-Sanchez’s immigration attorney, said in a statement according to the East Bay Times. “We’re celebrating but until that visa is attached to her passport on Monday I also give a little bit of caution.”
California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who had been advocating for Mendoza-Sanchez’s return, also hailed the good news saying “Maria is a hard-working, devoted mother and I’m delighted that she will soon be reunited with her children and back at work serving cancer patients at Highland Hospital… I’ve met with Maria and kept in close contact with her children over the past year. It’s been a long road, and today they are one step closer to being reunited. Given the importance of family unity and Maria’s contributions to her community, I’m pleased this wrong is finally being rectified.”
Her employer at Highland Hospital will be sponsoring her visa, which means she’ll be able to work in Oakland and sponsor her husband so that he can also make his return to the U.S.
In response to her good fortune, Mendoza-Sanchez has said, “I’m very happy. I can’t wait to see those kids and hug them and help them.”