SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A woman who has waited 40 years to immigrate legally to the U.S. has finally arrived in Utah with the help of a congressman’s office.
Corazon Espinosa, 70, arrived at Salt Lake City International Airport on Thursday and was greeted by a dozen siblings and in-laws, The Salt Lake Tribune <a target=”—blank” href=”https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/03/01/after-40-years-woman-arrives-in-utah-after-finally-being-allowed-to-immigrate-to-us-legally/”>reported</a> .
“I feel really great,” Espinosa said. “The wait is over. I really love being with my siblings.”
Espinosa’s mother and father left the Philippines and immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1980s. All seven of Espinosa’s siblings followed later, arriving as late as 1994.
Espinosa’s immigration was not as easy.
Jennifer Andelin, who worked with former Rep. Jason Chaffetz and now with Rep. John Curtis, has been pressing Espinosa’s case for several years.
“Forty years is a terribly long time to be separated from family members while waiting for a U.S. visa,” Andelin said. “Corazon’s immigration story is just one example of how our immigration system is failing those who abide by the law and try to immigrate legally.”
Andelin outlined Espinosa’s case, which dates back to 1978 when Zenaida Sigua filed an immigration petition for her daughter.
After that petition was filed, Espinosa moved to Sydney and married an Australian, which caused her application to be canceled. Espinosa’s mother filed a new petition after becoming a U.S. citizen in 1984.
The petition failed as officials reported no record of it years later. Another petition was filed in 1994 and nothing happened.
Going through several bureaucratic hurdles over the years, another petition was canceled when Espinosa’s mother died in May 2010. Her sister brought the case to Chaffetz’s office in 2012.
Andelin, his adviser, pushed the case with U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service, the Office of Legislative Affairs and the House Judiciary Committee.
In November 2013, Espinosa’s visa petition was approved. A priority date arrived in October 2017. Espinosa’s visa also allowed her husband to immigrate.
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, <a target=”—blank” href=”http://www.sltrib.com”>http://www.sltrib.com</a>