Fox 35: Soto bill to help deported mom to be heard this year

February 20, 2020
In The News

A Central Florida family was torn apart when federal agents deported mom to Mexico.

Alejandra Juarez, the wife of a Marine veteran and mom to two girls, was forced to leave her Polk County home in 2018.  The family’s story has been featured on Netflix.

“It has changed a lot. It has actually put me in a position that I didn’t think about. Now, people recognize me,” Juarez said in a Skype interview from Mexico.

The family says they decided to take part in the docu-series “Living Undocumented” to show a different side of illegal immigration.

“I don’t regret it because I think Americans need to know that not all immigrants are rapists and drug dealers. That there's military wives that have no record,” she explained.

Alejandra lived in the U.S. undocumented for around 20 years. A traffic stop in 2013 put her on ICE’s radar.

While she was granted postponements for deportation twice under the previous administration, her attorneys say President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance policy on immigration sent her back to Mexico in August of 2018.

We asked her husband Temo Juarez if he faults the president – who he voted for in 2016. 

“I don’t blame him at all because the laws were already on the books so he was just enforcing them,” he said.

The Juarez household is a little quieter these days. The family of four has split into pairs.

Alejandra and 10-year-old Estela living in Merida, Mexico, where she teaches English on the side.

Temo has stayed behind in Florida with 18-year-old Pamela so she can finish her senior year and he can keep working.

Their reunions are always in Mexico and temporary. 

“The hardest part is that we are not together. That my daughters are growing up separately,” Alejandra said.

“You feel helpless because obviously you don’t have control over this situation with your life,” Temo told FOX 35 News.

They still have hope that the whole family will live in the U.S. again.

Congressman Darren Soto’s Protect Patriot Spouses Act, which makes undocumented military spouses eligible for an adjustment of status will come up for a vote sometime this year.

However, his office says if it passes, the Department of Homeland Security would still have discretion over whether Alejandra could come back.  

“Let’s give her a second chance. That’s all I want, Danielle, a second chance,” Alejandra said.

Alejandra’s attorneys say she’s fought for years to get legal status. But they say when she was 19-year-old, she signed a document (that was in English without translation) giving up her right to citizenship when she was stopped at the border.