Jorge's Immigration Journey

Jorge reunites with family in October 2022. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Jorge Rafael Zaldivar Mendieta has been married to his U.S. citizen wife, Christina, for the past 17 years. Together, they have five children. For over a decade, he faced potential deportation and separation from his family because of a mistake by the U.S. government and our unjust immigration laws.

On Nov. 15, 2019, with a strong appeal pending before District Court, Jorge went to his check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as he had done over the previous five years. Jorge was detained by ICE. He was held in the for-profit GEO detention center for two months, where he had to fight to receive basic diabetes medication, was not provided dental care when needed, and lost more than 20 pounds.

On Jan. 15, 2020, with his appeal still pending, ICE deported Jorge to Mexico. Prior to his deportation, Christina flew to Mexico City to be there with him when he arrived, but had to return to Denver to parent their five children on her own while they continued to fight his case to return.

Jorge was exiled in Mexico for nearly three years (34 months). Back in the U.S., the family struggled as Christina became the sole breadwinner. The absence of Jorge and all of the support he provided for the entire family placed Christina in a situation that was very challenging – mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially – for her and their family.

That all changed when a federal court eventually agreed with Jorge and his case was returned to the Immigration Judge for a new cancellation hearing in the fall of 2022. In advance of that hearing, ICE finally approved Jorge’s humanitarian parole. And on Oct. 13, 2022, Jorge was reunited with his wife, five children, and grandchildren so that he could attend his new cancellation hearing.

Today, Jorge, Christina, and their children can finally celebrate a victory after their long struggle for justice and to keep their family together in the U.S.



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