CORONA (CBSLA) — Jose Palomar was brought to the United States as a 5-year-old child and was living under temporary legal status with his American wife and children — until he returned to Mexico in order to apply for permanent residency.
Palomar, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient, is currently in Mexico and is barred from returning to his home and his family.
“The first thing I thought of was, ‘How am I going to do this alone’,” Palomar’s wife, Christine Palomar, said. “I’ve always had my husband.”
According to Christine, her husband had to return to Mexico in order to apply for permanent residency due to new immigration rules. The family thought it would be apart for just a few days.
But, while applying for residency, she said her husband underwent a medical exam where he admitted to trying marijuana — legal in California, but still illegal according to federal law.
“Why did he even say that?” his step-brother Christian Garcia said. “But that’s my brother; he’s always been honest to a fault.”
Immigration attorney Scott McVarish said that even those who haven’t tried marijuana could run into problems with immigration.
“People who work for the cannabis industry are in fact at risk for having any of their immigration permits, whether it’s green cards or even naturalization petitions, denied,” McVarish said.
Under ordinary circumstances, Palomar would not be able to return to the U.S. for 10 years, but Christine is hoping her appeal reaches her congressperson.
“It’s hurting my family,” she said. “Very much.”