In May of 2007, Yaderlin Hiraldo’s husband, Alex Jimenez, went missing in Iraq. Alex, a solider in the U.S. army, disappeared after an ambush on his unit’s position outside of Baghdad.
Prior to his disappearance, Alex had filed papers with USCIS, seeking to obtain a green card for his wife, Yaderlin. Unfortunately the application caught the attention of immigration officials. Yaderlin had unlawfully entered the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in 2001, paying $500 to a smuggler and walking three days from Mexico to California. Alex’s request for a green card for Yaderlin had alerted authorities to her situation.
Removal proceedings began. The government wanted Yaderlin to leave the U.S. and seek her visa in the Dominican Republic. Of course with her husband missing and without his support, she could not hope to return to the U.S. What’s more, after departing the U.S., she would be barred for 10 years from applying. Her prospects seemed hopeless. Continue reading