Chicago soldier seeks visa for illegal wife

December 6, 2010 3:25:55 PM PST
Congressman Luis Gutierrez and other activists are making efforts to reunite a National Guardsman from Chicago with his undocumented wife and U.S.-born child who are living in Mexico.

Army Reserve combat engineer Hector Nunez has served in Kuwait and has orders to deploy to Afghanistan. Gutierrez and others are trying to first help bring his family back to the United States.

Nunez did six months in Kuwait in 2007, and then signed up again so he could serve in Afghanistan which is where his unit is now. Specialist Nunez is not with them because his wife and young son are in Mexico, barred from returning to the U.S.

"She wants to come home. She cries every day that she wants to come home. Mexico is not her home. The majority of her time has been spent in the U.S.," said Nunez.

Rosa Nunez, Hector's wife, entered the U.S with her parents when she was six. She grew up in Chicago, went to school here, married her Chicago-born husband here, gave birth to their now 1-year old son here, and, although some members of her family became citizens, Rosa remained undocumented.

In June, her husband says Rosa returned to Mexico - on the advice of a private attorney - to begin the process of achieving resident status in the U.S. She was told the law would not allow her to return to the U.S. for at least ten years.

"I think any American citizen would look at this situation and say this is stupid. This is inhumane. This is unfair," said Cong. Luis Gutierrez, D-Chicago.

Gutierrez and others have gathered petitions asking the Department of Homeland Security to grant a humanitarian visa so that Rosa Nunez and her son could return to Chicago - at least for a year. That way, Specialist Nunez says, they'd have family support while he honors his military commitment.

"Sometimes I feel like a bad dream. I wish I could wake up and it'd be all over, but reality hits and I'm just alone," said Nunez.

An application was sent in Monday for a humanitarian visa for Rosa Nunez. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service says that that kind of visa can be granted for "urgent humanitarian reasons" or "significant public benefit." But there has to be a compelling reason, which is usually medical in nature, and the visa itself cannot last any long than a year.


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