Woman denied humanitarian visa to visit dying sister

imageLopez is 55 years old and lives in Mexico. Her older sister is dying of cancer here in the United States. Her request for a humanitarian visa to cross the border was denied at the US Consulate in Tijuana. Local immigrant rights activist Juan Jose Gutierrez held a press conference today at the Federal Building in downtown LA to bring attention to Lopez’s plight. When asked why her visa request was turned down, he said, “They never tell you what’s insufficient. They simply tell you that whatever evidence in this case she presented, in the judgement of the adjudicator—the consular officer—was insufficient”.

Lopez took letters from doctors proving that her sister is dying. She brought papers proving she owns a home in Mexico. She even brought papers from a Mexican doctor stating that her own son, 23 years old, is also dying of cancer, and that she would return to Mexico quickly to take care of him. It still wasn’t enough.

Local immigration attorney Paul Cass explained what the consulate might be looking for:

“…the Department of State—which runs the consulates and immigration service—is that all persons seeking to enter the United States are deemed to be intending to immigrate unless they can satisfy the appropriate officials that they don’t intend to immigrate… the rule of thumb is they have to show substantial ties to their home country such that they are more likely to return after a brief stay”.

Cass says if Lopez isn’t employed, that could be a red flag to the State Department.

Gutierrez says Congressman Howard Berman is looking into the matter. Although the laws may be complicated, “…and yet, something as simple as allowing a frail, elderly woman to come and say goodbye to her dying sister—it’s impossible to resolve”.

Perhaps congressional pressure will bring the two sisters together one last time.