California's Barbara Lee invites deported nurse who won fight to return home to State of the Union

Last December, Maria Mendoza-Sanchez won her fight to return to the U.S., 16 months after her deportation to Mexico. The oncology nurse had no criminal record and had been working and living here for decades. That didn’t matter to immigration officials, and she became one of the most prominent living symbols of Donald Trump’s cruel mass-deportation policies. “On Tuesday,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports, “she’ll get a chance to face him in person.”

“I am honored to bring Maria as my guest to the State of the Union,” said Rep. Barbara Lee of California. “Maria is a beloved nurse, neighbor and friend in the East Bay. She is a living example of the incalculable contributions that immigrants make to our communities every single day. Because of President Trump’s punitive, unjust and immoral deportation agenda, Maria suffered a heart-wrenching and unnecessary separation from her family and loved ones.”

It wasn’t an easy fight for the family. “There were many nights I couldn’t sleep,” Maria said. “There were many days I was ready to give up.” She was able to apply from Mexico for a high-skilled U.S. visa, but needed a waiver from U.S. officials first. It seemed long shot, but she got it, and with the hospital she worked for agreeing to sponsor her, her return home seemed assured. Late last year, it happened, just in time for her to celebrate Christmas with her family. “You’re home,” one of her daughters cried. “It’s okay.” 

Other families torn apart by deportation wait for a similar day. It’s been a year since Jorge Garcia was deported after three decades here. “I keep telling him things are going to work out,” his wife, Cindy, said. “Don’t lose hope.“ Rep. Lee hopes Maria’s story can serve as a reminder of how many others need our help. “Tragically, her unjust deportation shone a light on the pain caused by the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies. Maria’s attendance at the State of the Union highlights the urgent need for humane immigration reforms that treat families with dignity, respect and compassion.”

Source: dailykos