TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A Twin Falls mom applying for permanent residency in the U.S. is crediting an Idaho senator for helping her make it home after being stranded in Mexico.
“I was so happy to be home with my children," Miriam Herrera said. "It was an unbelievable moment. It felt like I was dreaming at the time, but I'm happy to be home."
Miriam and her husband Baldamar ‘Tito’ Herrera flew to Cuidad Juarez, Mexico at the beginning of January to continue her process of becoming an American citizen. But after arriving in Mexico, her application for citizenship was denied and she was banned from reentering the U.S. for 10 years.
The Herreras say they did not know what to do.
“How am I going to do it to live out here? Mexico is a dangerous place, there is a lot of stuff that happens there, and you don't feel safe,” Miriam said
The denial from the US Consulate says she entered the US with her parents when she was 5 years old and again at the age of 7. According to the US Consulate’s denial document, she was unlawfully present in the U.S.
Miriam's lawyers argued the denial was made in error. Even Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo got involved, urging the consulate to reconsider.
Ultimately, the petition was sucessful, and Miriam was granted a visa to return to the U.S.
"I was in disbelief at the time. Like is this really happening? Did the senator really answer back and reach out to us?" she asked.
Weeks after Crapo's letter on her behalf, Miriam was able to get on a flight back to her children.
"We are just so grateful for the attorneys. All three of them that are familiar with our agency were put into action and they helped this family out,” said Communication Specialist for the Community Council of Idaho, Antonio Madera.
The family's attorney, Rose-Hermance Rony, said she did not relax until Miriam's plane touched down on American soil.
"Someone who is starting the process, I would tell them to be more involved in your community and always give with a big heart," Miriam said. "You never know when you might need something, and that's when whatever you gave is when it'll come back to you."
She also wants to help lawmakers understand the difficulties immigrants encounter during the lengthy process of obtaining citizenship.
"I would like to send a message to Governor Little and lawmakers to please pass a law that allows immigrants to obtain a driver’s license," she said. "They already live in the shadows as it is, but obtaining a driver’s license, makes a big difference in somebody's life."
Miriam says she wants to pursue an education in dentistry and will be enrolling in school soon. The family said they want to thank the community for all their support and the messages during a difficult time.
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