On Monday, a father and DACA recipient who was stuck in Mexico after a case of an error in his immigration paperwork has returned to Houston after Congressman Al Green traveled to Ciudad Juarez and personally brought him back home.

“Today (Tuesday) marks a fulfilled promise made to bring my constituent Jaime Avalos home to his wife Yarianna Martinez and their 1-year-old son Noah. These three have experienced extreme adversity during this unexpected family separation,” Green said.

“I’m really happy. I thought it was just a dream until I stepped foot in Houston. It felt amazing, and I’m really thankful for the team that I have behind me,” Avalos said during a press conference Tuesday.

Avalos had been stuck in Mexico since August 2022. Even though he grew up in Houston, Avalos left the U.S. to finish some immigration paperwork at an interview with the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The interview was part of the process to obtain permanent residency in the U.S.

But it turns out, he got bad legal advice. Avalos – a DACA recipient who is married to a U.S. citizen – could have finished his interviews in the U.S. because of that status.

It was discovered that following his initial entry to the U.S. as an infant, Avalos was taken to Mexico, at which time his birth was registered in Oaxaca, Green said. Then, he returned to the U.S. permanently. As a result of this exit as a child under 8 years of age, U.S. law bans Avalos from reentering the U.S. for 10 years.

In the past six months, Green made it a personal mission to bring Avalos back. Green introduced a private bill to the House of Representatives back in November, asking for permanent resident status for Avalos.

What ended up happening is Avalos got a humanitarian parole. This is very difficult to get, but since he doesn’t have a criminal record and has family in the U.S., his case was accepted.

What’s next? The humanitarian parole lasts for two years. In that time, Avalos plans to obtain a work permit and eventually U.S. citizenship.

“The fight’s not over, we’re going to keep on fighting until Jaime becomes a resident and then a U.S. citizen, because that’s what he needs, and that’s what he deserves,” Martinez said.

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