The human side of immigration law
Carbon family split as father is denied US re-entry
On Nov. 22, the Pedroza family added another member: a daughter, Payton. The baby joined her three-year-old brother, Preston, as a child of Marcos and Melissa Pedroza.
There is a chance that the children and Melissa won't see much of their dad and husband for the next 10 years.
Marcos, who had reportedly been in this country illegally, has been blocked from getting a visa to re-enter the United States from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. According to Spencer and Colleen Loveless of Love-Less Ash, he had gone to his home country to begin the long process of coming back to Price legally and earning his citizenship.
"He was jumping through all the hoops to get legalized," explained Spencer, who had been Pedroza's boss. "Usually when someone tries to do that they have to stay out of the U.S. for three months to a year."
So on Dec. 4, Pedroza flew back to Mexico, got the required physical and fingerprinting. On Dec. 8, he was informed by the U.S. Consul that he would not be eligible for a visa for 10 years.
Spencer explained that Pedroza had apparently run into trouble with the U.S. Consulate because he had crossed the border more than once over the years.
Pedroza had been working in the Love-Less assembly plant for four years. In addition to the 40 hours he put in assembling specialty vacuums, he also put in an extra 20 hours per week doing yard work and other odd jobs to make ends meet.
He was also taking English lessons to make himself fit in, said Colleen, Spencer's mother.
The Lovelesses liked him and would like to have him back in the shop.
They did not know he was in this country illegally when they hired him in 2007. "He had a Social Security Card and driver's license and that's what the law says he needed," explained Spencer. "We're not detectives." He also had an American wife, the former Melissa Swasey, whom he married in 2006.
But now that he has established himself as a good employee - "an awesome worker" - and member of the community, Colleen explained, the Lovelesses are going to pull out all the stops to see what they can do to accelerate his re-entry.
"He has the backing of us and the employees and the community and we're all going to contact whoever we must," Colleen declared.
Colleen Loveless thinks the impending 10-year separation from his family is extreme. She asked, "If he's trying to live within the law, why is he being penalized for trying to do the right thing?"
"We had set up everything for him to be gone for a year," said Melissa Pedroza. Now, facing a separation ten times as long, she said she is holding on to hope that Marcos and be successful on an appeal of the ruling.
The Sun Advocate was unable to contact the Pedrozas' attorney to find out what steps may be taken to appeal or change the ruling.
Meanwhile, Melissa has taken herself and her two children to live with her parents. With a new baby, she won't be able to return to her job at the school district for a while.
Speaking of the new baby, Melissa reports everything is just fine. "She's a good baby, thank goodness," she said.