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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Stranded 3 years in Yucatán, Alejandra Juarez will be home for Mother’s Day

Homeland Security grants her humanitarian parole to wife of retired US marine

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Alejandra Juarez and her husband of 20 years Temo Juarez, an Iraq combat veteran, enjoy a barbecue with friends in April. Alejandra entered the country illegally in 1998 and self-deported to Mexico Friday, dividing the family of four. Photo: Stars & Stripes, Courtesy Alejandra Juarez

A woman who gained national attention after being forced to leave the United States nearly three years ago will reunite with her family in time for Mother’s Day.

Alejandra Juarez, who left for Mérida in 2018 while facing deportation, has received permission to return to her home in central Florida under humanitarian parole.

Humanitarian parole allows entry to the country “due to an emergency” for someone who is otherwise not allowed admission.

Juarez, 41, told local media that she expects to return on Saturday and rejoin her husband and two daughters.

“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for,” Juarez told the Orlando Sentinel. “Once inside, I’m going to keep fighting and hopefully there’s a way I can find a permanent solution, but this is great!”

The wife of a U.S. combat vet, facing deportation, arrives in Mérida. Photo: El Heraldo

Juarez’s plight gained attention largely because she is the wife of a retired marine, Cuauthemos “Temo” Juarez, a naturalized U.S. citizen. She left behind her husband and her daughters when she boarded a plane in 2018 after immigration officials at ICE ordered her to leave.

Juarez had been living without permission in the country since illegally crossing the border from Mexico in 1998, shortly after turning 18.

Under the policy of former President Barack Obama, undocumented immigrants without criminal records were generally not targeted for deportation. The Trump administration was the first in decades to adopt a general zero-tolerance policy toward humanitarian parole. The administration after that, President Joe Biden’s, then approved her parole.

Juarez crossed the border twice and eventually met and married a marine named Temo Juarez — ironically a Trump supporter — who was later deployed to Iraq.

The couple settled in central Florida where Temo runs a flooring business. Their daughters are 19 and 11.

News crews captured wrenching images of the family at the Orlando airport before Juarez departed for Mérida. Once in Mérida, an unofficial band of expat women met with her and helped get her settled. Their younger daughter moved to Yucatán while the elder stayed in Florida with her father.

In 2019, the Netflix series “Living Undocumented” included the story of Juarez and her family. Estela also pleaded her mother’s case in a recorded, two-minute statement that aired during the Democratic National Convention last August.

With information from the Lakeland Ledger

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