Story of Hope | Patricia & Ezequiel

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“It felt like freedom…finally!”

Ezequiel was born and raised in Mexico. There, he met and married the love of his life, Patricia. The two welcomed three children – two sons and a daughter – over the next ten years. However, financial and physical hardships took their toll; their money ran out, bills piled up, and they did not have insurance to pay for necessary medical care.  “That was the hard truth of life in Mexico then,” recalls Ezequiel, but despite the hardships and struggles, neither gave up hope or lost faith in God’s plan. They persevered through the financial, emotional, and physical struggles and remained in Mexico, working hard to support their young family. However, as violence increased and drugs became prevalent in their community, they knew they had to relocate to a safer place. First, the family moved to another city in Mexico but found they were unable to earn enough to support the family. Then, Ezequiel made the heartbreaking decision to leave Mexico and his family behind. He knew his best opportunity for a better life for his family was not in Mexico but in the United States.

He worked at a tree nursery for years, saving everything he could to send back to his family. He recalls the lonely years without his wife and her love and support, and he missed his children terribly. In the 1980s, through the U.S. Government’s Amnesty Program, he becomes a Permanent Resident and took a second job. He had a small apartment but was not able to earn enough to support himself and his family, so he terminated his lease and slept in his car for a year to save as much money as possible. As the violence and drugs began to take over his family’s home in Mexico, he knew he had to find a way to bring them to the U.S. for their safety and their future. Together, they decided the family would come to join him; first Patricia and the oldest son, then the other two children shortly after. Having his family back with him was the best feeling in the world.

Soon, the family relocated to Colorado and received a blessing! Ezequiel secured a job on the janitorial staff of a cleaning company and earned a promotion to supervisor. Then in 2008, Patricia and Ezequiel realized their dream of home ownership!

When Patricia began the process of becoming a U.S. resident, she received the devastating news that she would need to return to Mexico to serve penalties for coming to the U.S. unlawfully over 20 years prior. The family would once again be separated for years while Patricia petitioned to become a U.S. resident. The family met with two different lawyers, and they continued to hit roadblocks; despite having paid taxes, worked, and even purchased a home in the U.S., she would have to return to Mexico to live there for at least ten years. A co-worker told the family about the Catholic Charities of Central Colorado Family Immigration Services team. The client advocates, and staff attorney worked tirelessly for over three years, filed waiver applications, and fought to keep the family together in the home they had built together in the U.S. Ezequiel was prepared to give up his Medicare insurance, disability payments from his employer and Social Security earned over decades of work in the U.S. to return to Mexico with his wife, best friend, and caregiver. He knew the sacrifice would be worth it to spend the rest of his days with his wife.

Patricia returned to Mexico, where she lived with their daughter and her family, to serve her penalty. During that time, Ezequiel traveled back and forth from Colorado to Mexico. Through the work of the immigration services team at Catholic Charities, however, Patricia was able to serve a reduced penalty in Mexico and return to the U.S., having earned her permanent residency status. The two could not have been happier to experience freedom and hope finally – the hope that their life in the U.S. will be the one they can enjoy for the rest of their days. Thanks to the Catholic Charities team’s advocacy, support, and intervention, the two will now enjoy their golden years together in the land they call home.

At Catholic Charities, we respect everyone who comes to us for help. Many are working toward a fresh start in life. So while their stories are true, client names and images may have changed to protect their privacy.

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