For the last 18 months, Karen Roberts, a Mexican native who has lived in the United States for most of her life, has been stranded in Mexico due to her immigration status. The wife of U.S.-born LaMar Roberts, and mother of their five children, was only meant to be on a four-day trip to Mexico to interview and apply for a green card. As the result of poor guidance and misinformation from Karen’s former attorney, four days has turned into a nightmare going on two years for the Roberts family.
Karen was brought to the U.S. by her parents almost thirty years ago, undocumented, when she was 4 years old. Karen eventually settled in Delaware County where she attended high school, got married to her husband of 10 years, and started a family. In 2021, Karen hired an attorney unfamiliar with immigration issues who said he filed all the necessary paperwork and instructed Karen to go to the U.S. Consulate in Mexico to do her interview and get her green card. He informed Karen that she would be able to come back to the U.S. legally.
Immigration attorney, Thomas Griffin of Surin & Griffin, P.C., has since taken over the case for Karen and the Roberts family. Old immigration law does not allow Karen to re-enter the U.S. for 10 years as a penalty for living in the country undocumented for so long. Griffin explained that under changes to the law, Karen could have waited for her waiver approval and green card while staying home with her family in Delaware County had she been properly informed.
Griffin expressed that the next step is to prove Karen’s absence has and is continuing to create a hardship on her spouse and children. Until then, the Roberts family is facing another holiday season separated and waiting for the day Karen comes home.
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