KNOXVILLE, TN (WATE/CNN) - Vicente Saldana, a father of four young daughters, is banned from re-entering the US because he’s not an American citizen.
“This is so hard for my girls, for me, my wife,” said Saldana in a video phone interview. He is classified as an EWI, meaning that he entered the US without inspection or a visa. He came to the US in 1998; he went back to Mexico in 2003 and snuck back into the US shortly after.
For the past 10 years, he’s lived in Tennessee, married his wife, and had kids. Saldana and his wife, Alicia, went to Mexico for a citizenship interview at the US consulate. It was there that he learned he wouldn’t be getting his US citizenship and he wouldn’t be coming home to his family.
“They told us about three days after the interview, ‘Oh well, it’s a lost cause. You took the risk, so there’s nothing we can do,” said Alicia Saldana, who is now back in Tennessee with the couple’s daughters.
The Saldanas say their lawyers, based in Florida, told them not to mention Vicente’s trip back to Mexico in 2003. He didn’t, but immigration knew he was leaving something out.
“Ironically, he’s in his home country, but he’s lost,” said Alicia Saldana’s mother, Judy. “He has no idea what to do or where to go.”
Immigration attorney Charles Carpenter, who is not specifically familiar with Saldana’s case, says he advises to always include everything in an application, good and bad.
“Any attempt to use fraudulent information, falsified documents or any kind of nefarious activity to obtain benefits from the United States renders you ineligible,” Carpenter said. “It’s not completely black and white. There are grounds that you can assert that the government will forgive a ground of inadmissibility, but you’ve got to put it in the application.”
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