WASHINGTON, D.C. — A husband fighting to bring his wife home from Mexico after she self-deported in 2018 traveled to Washington D.C. this week to urge lawmakers to help his family and others like his who are desperate to be reunited.
Jason Rochester has been fighting for almost four years to bring his wife Cecilia Gonzalez-Carmona back to their Atlanta home. Rochester is frustrated that a proposal which could help them is moving slowly in Congress.
“There’s a lot of frustration when you hear about bills that are going to help other groups, but they still don’t include families like mine,” said Rochester.
Rochester has been pushing for Congress to pass the American Families United Act, known as H.R. 2920.
It would allow the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to exercise discretion in certain immigration cases.
“I am determined to get this done for all of you,” said Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), who introduced the bill. “All we are asking is for the discretion to be given to a judge to look at each case on an individual basis.”
Rochester said his wife had been living in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant previously and left because of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
The Trump administration said its immigration policies helped restore law and order.
“She left the country with the intention of applying for a Green Card and hoping to return soon,” said Rochester.
Instead, the family has faced legal barriers at every turn and were told she may have to wait a minimum of ten years before she can even apply for reentry.
To make matters worse, their son Ashton was diagnosed with cancer after his mom left.
The third grader is thankfully in good health now, but at eight years old he has spent nearly half his young life separated from his mom.
“It’s draining,” said Rochester. “It’s a constant, always having roller coaster ups and downs.”
The bill has more than 40 co-sponsors in the House but the proposal hasn’t moved in Congress.
In a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Escobar said she is in talks with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, about possibly introducing the bill in the Senate.
So far, there is no companion bill for the proposal in the Senate.
All but one of the co-sponsors in the House are Democrats.
Our Washington News Bureau has been contacting the Senate Minority Leader’s Office and the House Minority Leader’s Office to find out where Republican leadership stands on the proposal, but we still haven’t gotten a response.
Rochester is hoping lawmakers hear his story and take action.
“For some reason they keep dragging their feet,” said Rochester.