CORONA, Calif. - 26-year-old Jose Palomar admitted to formerly smoking pot and now he may be stuck in Mexico for 10 years.
The Corona resident and DACA recipient planned to visit Mexico for a week to secure his green card and now he says he’s not allowed back in the U.S. Palomar came to California from Mexico when he was six years old with an illegal relative and has lived here ever since.
Three weeks ago, he went to Juarez, Mexico to seek permanent residency in the US. On the physical exam, he admitted he used to smoke marijuana, which is legal in California but not under federal law.
The U.S. Consulate denied Palomar’s visa, marking that he had used a controlled substance. Palomar says he is not allowed back in the US for at least one year, possibly 10 years, when his ineligibility expires, and he can reapply.
“The thing that hurts me the most is when I see my wife crying when I talk to my little kiddos and they start crying as well,” said Palomar on FaceTime from Juarez. “I’ve always been that person to take control of everything I do and make sure I do everything right. I’m in a situation where I have no control.”
“For trying to do everything right, I got this in return. I regretted doing all this. I should’ve just stayed home. I was protected enough. I was hoping for a better future for not just myself, but my family. But it didn’t go as planned.”
His wife, Christine has requested Congressman Ken Calvert to examine the case. The representative says in a statement, “I think this situation only further underscores the inherit problems with the contradictory legalization of marijuana. Until something is passed to change the federal classification of marijuana, individuals, businesses and even state/local governments should be mindful that the use, distribution and sale of marijuana continues to be crime in the eyes of all federal agencies.”
The stress put on Christine, who is against marijuana, is almost unbearable. She is working full time, raising four kids alone, ages 12 to 6 months old and trying to get her husband back. She says the hospital informed her Monday afternoon that she also has blood poisoning.
“Some days I don’t know how I’m going to do it,” Christine said, fighting back tears. “But you have to keep pushing and that’s one thing I’m going to keep doing. I’m going to get my husband home if it’s the last thing I do because at the end of the day, the four people who mean the most to me, besides my husband of course, are those kids and you have to keep pushing for the kids.”
The Palomars have applied for a provisional waiver with the Department of Homeland Security, which they say could take a year to get approved. They have asked Representative Calvert to expedite it.
Until further notice, Palomar will be living in Mexico.
A GoFundMe account has been setup up to help the Palomars through this hardship as they work to get Jose home. https://www.gofundme.com/f/please-help-christine-bring-her-husband-home.