by: Diana Davis Updated:
ATLANTA - Friday’s policy shift on the deportation of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children came too late for one Georgia couple.
Ramon Gonzales was born in the United States. His wife of one year, Angelica Carranza, was brought to the country illegally by her parents at age 5. Though she grew up in Dalton, was schooled there and now works there, she has no papers.
The couple left for Mexico in April, so Carranza could go through the proper channels to apply for legal U.S. residency. But their application to the U.S. consulate general’s office in Ciudad Jauarez was turned down.
Channel 2’s Diana Davis talked to both Carranza and Gonzales in Mexico on Friday via Skype.
“I’m a Georgia girl. I grew up in Georgia,” Carranza told Davis.
Though she and her husband speak some Spanish, they said English is their first language. They said they appreciate their Mexican heritage, but it is a strange land.
“If you ask any of my friends, I'm about as American as it gets. It’s hard to think I might have to start over in a place so foreign to me,” said Carranza.
Her husband said he didn’t think the visa application process would be so difficult.
“You know that feeling you get when you start to get real nervous and anxious, sick to your stomach? That' s how I felt,” Gonzales told Davis.
He told Davis his wife is a nervous wreck.
“Ever since we came here, she's been suffering from panic attacks. Only way she's been able to get through those is me talking to her and calming her down," said Gonzales.
On Friday, President Barack Obama announced that law-abiding, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children will no longer face deportation. But the new rules don’t apply to Carranza because she left the country.
Carranza has been told she could be stuck in Mexico for up to 10 years. An immigration lawyer involved in the famed Jessica Colotyl case told Davis thousands of undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens face long waits due to red tape and stacks of visa applications.
“So what was the same day or a couple of weeks is now turned into an eight-, nine-month process where you have no choice but to wait down there in Mexico. You have these individuals having to live in a very scary situation, particular down there in Ciudad Juarez, simply waiting to hear back from the consulate,” Danielle Conley told Davis.
The couple told Davis they are living with family members, working with lawyers and looking for jobs in Mexico. Gonzales said he will not return to the U.S. without his wife.