Rocio Rebollar Gomez has spent the last 30 years of her life living in San Diego with her family but her stay in the U.S. has recently ended after immigration officials deported her back to Mexico [Source: CNN]. Gomez, whose son currently serves as a U.S. army officer, had applied to a program that protects relatives of active U.S. military members from deportation, but her request was denied. Although the reason for the denial has yet to be disclosed, USCIS did say that Gomez was deported “after exhausting all legal avenues for appeal.”
CNN did, however, mention that Gomez had already been deported three times in the past and each time she returned to the U.S. it was so that she could be with her children. Her daughter, Karla Cruz, said that although her mother did have a deportation record, it was only because she wanted to come back for her kids. She told the source, “Everything that she’s done is for us to keep us here, to give us an opportunity. She’s the heart of our family. She’s taught us everything we know.”
Gomez’s son, 2nd Lt. Gibram Cruz, who is proudly serving the U.S., told CNN affiliate KGTV that he felt “betrayed” after learning that his mother was sent back to Mexico. Not only was Cruz not given the opportunity to say goodbye to his mother, but he also expressed concern for when he would be able to see her again. Cruz told KGTV that he wouldn’t be able to travel to Mexico due to military restrictions and was already given orders to report to Fort Hood in Texas. Cruz is also committed to at least three more years in the military.
Are there any programs that protect the family of a U.S. service member from being deported?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides discretionary options for the families of military members who are facing deportation on a case-by-case basis. One of these discretionary options is deferred action. “Deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action (deportation) against an individual for a certain period of time.” If USCIS grants you deferred action, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall consider you to be lawfully present in the U.S. for the period in which the deferred action is in effect.
It is important for you to understand that deferred action does not grant you lawful status, “nor does it excuse any past or future periods of unlawful presence.” DHS can also terminate deferred action at any time, at its discretion. In the event you are granted deferred action, you may be able to work after applying for and obtaining employment authorization for the period in which your deferred action is valid for.
Who is eligible for deferred action?
You may be eligible for deferred action for up to two years if you are the spouse, widow(er), parent, son or daughter of an:
- An active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces.
- An individual in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.
- Someone who previously served on active duty or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve and was not dishonorably discharged. In this case, they can either be living or be deceased.
How does an individual request deferred action when a family member of theirs is serving in the U.S. armed forces?
If you are at risk of being deported but believe you may qualify for deferred action, we recommend you contact Kuck | Baxter Immigration to speak with an Atlanta, GA deportation attorney. In order to request deferred action, you will need to submit the following documentation listed down below “to the director of the USCIS office with jurisdiction over your place of residence.” For those families who are on assignment in an area that is different from their permanent residence, they can submit their request with a USCIS office with jurisdiction in either area.
- A letter that states the basis for your deferred action request.
- A copy of DD Form 4, Enlistment/Reenlistment Document.
- Any evidence of any additional factors that support why you should be protected under deferred action.
- Proof of your relationship to the active military member. This might include:
- A marriage certificate.
- Documentation of termination of a previous marriage.
- Military member’s birth certificate with parent’s name.
- Proof of enrollment in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).
- If you are a surviving family member of an active military member, you will need to submit proof of residence in the U.S. at the time of the service member’s death.
- Proof of identity and nationality.
- Any document you used to lawfully enter the U.S., if applicable.
- Form G-325A, Biographic Information.
- Two identical, color, passport-style photographs.
If you have any questions regarding deferred action or need help submitting your request, the Atlanta, GA deportation attorneys at Kuck | Baxter Immigration are available to provide you with the assistance you need.
Kuck | Baxter Immigration can be reached at:
365 Northridge Road, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30350