YEADON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — Members of a Delaware County family miss a wife and mother who are forced to spend another vacation without them.
She’s in Mexico caught in immigration limbo after allegedly getting bad advice from a lawyer.
For the Roberts kids, it’s another spotty FaceTime call with their mom, Karen.
“I feel like I’ve been forgotten,” Karen said.
Her ten-year-old husband, Lamar, tries to keep the family together in Yeadon.
“For me, my daughters, my sons, we’re having, you know, trouble finding different outlets to deal with,” he said.
Karen Serrano Roberts has been living in hotels and airbnbs in a country where, despite being a Mexican citizen, she knows few people for a year and a half.
“We didn’t have a lot of options for where she could live,” Lamar said, “if we wanted to keep her safe.”
Karen was brought to the United States by her undocumented parents in 1991 at the age of 4. She relocated and eventually settled in Delaware County, where she attended Upper Darby High School and raised a family.
“My wife has been here all her life. You know, all her life,” Lamar said.
In 2021, Karen hired a non-immigration attorney. He said he submitted all the necessary paperwork and instructed her to go to the US consulate in Mexico, do her interview to get her green card, and then legally return to America. It was to be a four day process.
“He didn’t know what he was doing,” Lamar said. “It was a process that should be completed before she left.”
Under the old immigration law, Karen was barred from entering the United States for 10 years as punishment for living here undocumented for so long. But due to law changes, her new immigration attorney said Karen could have waited for her waiver and green card while she lived with her family here in Delaware County.
“So she’s stuck,” her attorney Thomas Griffin said. “I can’t switch her to the domestic program because she’s not here. So it just won’t apply.”
Griffin said Karen needed to prove her absence caused hardship.
“The hardship for the spouse would be, ‘I have five kids to raise on my own and work full-time,'” he said.
Money was tight as Lamar supports two homes, so they wait and wait — hoping to get word and be reunited with their family.
“It’s an anonymous process,” Griffin said. “You know, you don’t know if the files are under someone’s desk and they forgot. There’s nobody to talk to. There is no number to call,” he added.
Karen just looks forward to the only place she knows as home.
“Be merciful and think of the children,” she said. “I feel like I’ve done my time even though I didn’t commit a crime.”
Both the offices of Senator Pat Toomey and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon conducted congressional investigations to expedite the waiver process. Both were rejected by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Statement by Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon:
“Congressman Scanlon and her team treat every request for constituent services as urgent and important. Our team will continue to work to provide the best inaugural service to the Roberts family and will pass any updates to the Roberts.”
US Citizenship and Immigration Services:
As a practical matter, USCIS does not share, confirm, or deny immigration information about specific individuals for privacy reasons. Agency judges fairly, humanely, and efficiently evaluate each immigration benefit request on a case-by-case basis before making a decision, and USCIS is committed to delivering America’s promise as a welcome nation and opportunity with fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.
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https://6abc.com/karen-serrano-roberts-pennsylvania-woman-stuck-in-mexico-delaware-county-us-immigration-law/12565885/ Delaware County woman stuck in Mexico with no idea when she can come home | Action News Investigation