HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A DACA recipient has been stuck in Mexico since August, and local leaders are working to get the father and husband back to his home in Houston.
When ABC13 heard Jaime Avalos' story in September, we reached out to the couple's congressman, U.S. Rep. Al Green.
Green introduced a private bill to the House of Representatives on Thursday, asking for permanent resident status for Avalos.
Avalos built his life in Houston.
He graduated high school, works, is married, and has a house and a baby. But now, he's afraid that the life he loves is about to fall apart. Unless someone can step in.
In August, Avalos left the U.S. to finish some immigration paperwork at an interview with the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The interview was part of the process to obtain permanent residency in the U.S.
But it turns out, he got bad legal advice.
Avalos -- a DACA recipient, married to a U.S. citizen -- could have finished his interviews in the U.S. because of that status.
It was discovered that following his initial entry to the U.S. as an infant, Avalos was taken to Mexico, at which time his birth was registered in Oaxaca, Green said. Then, he returned to the U.S. permanently.
As a result of this exit as a child under 8 years of age, U.S. law bans Mr. Avalos from reentering the U.S. for 10 years. Green is asking for an exception to be made so that Avalos can return to his home.
"To deny Mr. Avalos reentry to the country he calls home, as well as separate him from his American-born wife and 11-month-old baby for 10 years, is unconscionable," Green said. "Immigration policies such as this one preventing Mr. Avalos from coming home tear families apart. Millions of law-abiding undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. contribute immensely to our great nation, including through their work during the pandemic as well as our military. This is why I support comprehensive immigration reform. The system needs to be repaired. Until then, I will continue doing all I can to reunite Mr. Avalos with his family."
"I went to school in Houston, graduated from Bellaire. I always worked, never missed work, never got into trouble," Avalos told ABC13.
"I hope he is able to come back. Just because we have a baby, we have a family, and our family isn't complete with him not being here," his wife, Yarianna Martinez, said.
In a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, Green said that if Congress does not act and Avalos stays separated from his family, his wife will be forced to sell their home to avoid foreclosure.