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Families separated by international border pushing for comprehensive immigration reform

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 8:48pm

Several local leaders, including Susie Byrd and Congressman Beto O'Rourke were in Washington D.C. Wednesday, pressing the issue of immigration reform.

Meanwhile, families in El Paso that have been separated by current immigration laws are watching and waiting, hoping change will come soon so that their families can be reunited.

Edgar Falcon and Emily Bonderer-Cruz are both U.S. citizens who are married to undocumented immigrants who have been ousted back to Mexico.  They are part of an organization called American Families United.

Earlier this month, they were on Capitol Hill pushing for immigration laws to help families in situations similar to theirs.

Falcon is living and attending school in El Paso, while his wife is in Durango, Mexico.  She was 16 years old when her sister brought her into the United States illegally, and  because she was deported, U.S. law states that she has been barred from entering the U.S.

He believes new immigration legislation should include special language for U.S. citizens who are married to undocumented immigrants.

"What we're trying to accomplish is for U.S. citizens not to be forgotten in the incoming immigration reform," said Falcon.

Current discussions on immigration reform include the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., but does not include those who live outside of the U.S. who have filed the necessary paperwork and are waiting their turn.

"I'm a U.S. citizen, but because my husband is not in the U.S. because we got in line to do it the right way, the current proposals that are being made wouldn't affect him," said Bonderer-Cruz.

Bonderer-Cruz had the choice to either stay in the U.S., apart from her husband, or move to Mexico, a country she's never known, so that they can be together.

"I'm making the decision to be with my husband, but to me that's not a decision, that's not an option. I love my husband with all my heart, he's my best friend. There's no way I could live in the U.S. without him," she said.

Bonderer-Cruz and Falcon said they met with many lawmakers during their trip to Washington and many were surprised to hear their story.

If you are in a similar situation, go to http://www.americanfamiliesunited.org/ for more information and support.

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