DACA recipient stuck in Mexico away from his wife and baby because of immigration mix-up

Miya Shay Image
Saturday, September 3, 2022
Houston dad stuck in Mexico due to bad legal info over immigration
A Houston family may confront a future where their loved one stuck in Mexico may not come back home for a while, and it's all due to bad legal information he received.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- When Jaime Avalos applied for DACA a decade ago, he carefully planned out a life that included hard work, getting married, and starting a family. It all came true, but now, his world is collapsing around him.

"I graduated from Bellaire. I always worked. Never missed work, never got into trouble," said the young husband and father, who is now stuck in Juarez, Mexico.

With tears streaming down their faces, Avalos and his wife, Yarianna Martinez, are trying to be strong for each other and their baby Noah. That's hard to do over Zoom.

The young family was split apart two weeks ago when they traveled across the border so Avalos could interview with an immigration officer. They did not know as a DACA recipient, Avalos could do everything in the United States.

The young couple trusted a non-profit that helped them with his DACA application years ago. It would prove to be a critical mistake.

"When you put your trust in somebody, you just hope they do the right thing, and it just didn't happen that way," Martinez said, with 8-month-old Noah in her arms.

This week, the family hired new attorneys, who explained to them that their situation could lead to a 10-year ban.

"Unfortunately, this could have all been avoided had he consulted with an immigration attorney before this process," attorney Karina Jimenez said. "Because he is a DACA recipient, he could have entered lawfully. "

With Avalos in Mexico, Martinez is worried their whole life, carefully built over the years, could just fall apart.

"We own a home. We own two cars. We have a baby. It's been hard, especially with having to pay our mortgage. It's hard," she said.

After hearing about their case, ABC13 reached out to their congressman, U.S. Rep. Al Green, who agreed to meet with Martinez on Friday afternoon to see what he could do.

"This is a broken immigration system," Congressman Green said, who had previously traveled to South America to bring back another constituent. "This is not just about getting him back in the country. This is about reuniting a family, family reunification, and we're going to do everything we can to make sure this family is back together again."

For now, Martinez is living with her mother, whose walls are decorated with pictures of her five children and grandkids. Martinez has two brothers who are Marines on active duty. She said they are having a hard time processing how as they are serving their country, their brother-in-law is stuck outside of the United States.

"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," she said.

SEE ALSO: DACA recipients urge Congress to act on immigration reform on program's 10th anniversary

For news updates, follow Miya Shay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.