Chris McCrory

Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018

Mexican woman denied visit to see terminally ill husband; family pleads for clemency

TUCSON – U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva has asked Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to reverse a decision denying a Mexican woman a temporary parole to visit her terminally ill husband before he dies.

Grijalva, D-Tucson, hosted a news conference Thursday, hoping to pressure the secretary to action.

Gloria Arellano Montoya was deported in 2009 after overstaying her visa and prohibited from re-entering the U.S. for 10 years. When her husband, Arsenio de la Rosa, a U.S. citizen, had a stroke in 2011, she was granted entry for 10 days to care for him and their four children, who also are citizens. The oldest, Jim de la Rosa, is a Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan.

When de la Rosa, 85, had another stroke in early August, doctors said he only had a few weeks to live. Arellano Montoya – who has no criminal record, Grijalva said – again applied for humanitarian parole, but her application was rejected Aug. 21.

“We’re not asking for her status to be legalized,” her son, Bill de la Rosa, said at the news conference, fighting back tears. “Just a temporary pass for her to come back to the U.S. Five days, three days, one day, one hour. Just for her to see my dad, and for my dad to see her.”

He believes his father is holding on to life in the hopes he’ll see his wife again.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, has asked the Department of Homeland Security to reconsider letting Gloria Arellano Montoya back into the country on a humanitarian parole. (Chris McCrory/Cronkite News)

“I think that he wants to see my mom, one last time before he finally lets go,” the son said. “There’s no reason she should be denied another parole, especially in these circumstances.

Grijalva said Arellano Montoya’s case, although tragic, is not unique.

“It happens all the time. It’s just that in this particular case, it just struck many of us as particularly harsh and hard-hearted and cruel,” the congressman said after the news conference. “I just think that the rhetoric around immigration and how it’s heightening as we go through towards the election has made the local officials feel like they had to mimic that rhetoric.”

In a letter to Nielsen on Wednesday, Grijalva pleaded on Arellano Montoya’s behalf, laying out the case for overturning the rejection and allowing her a humanitarian parole.

“The letter to Nielson is saying, ‘You have the authority to overrule this. Would you please show one glimmer of humanitarian gesture and allow this for five days, three days, whatever?’ ’’ he said. “Let (her) come and be with their family and see her husband for possibly the last time.”

Cronkite News reporters reached out to the Department of Homeland Security but have not received a response.

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