Jaime Avalos' mother brought him to Mexico when he was 7 so he could get a birth registration because he was about to be adopted. Decades later, while he was on track to obtain permanent residency, he went back to Mexico only to find out he couldn't return to the US.
The Avalos family is spending Thanksgiving in Mexico instead of Houston in order to be together.
The law that Avalos broke is straightforward.
“If you’re in the country and you’re undocumented and you leave, you are now barred from coming back in the country for 10 years,” Green said.
Avalos' story is a little different. While he was going to a scheduled interview at the United States Consulate General in Mexico as part of the process to obtain his permanent residency, he was told he wouldn't be able to return to the US for a decade.
His family is still trying to get used to him being gone.
“Just having to get used to our new reality has been really hard and really stressful. In our situation, not only financially, but emotionally,” his wife, Yarianna Avalos, said.
Yarianna, Green and the family's lawyer recently went to Mexico to visit Jaime.
“This isn’t home to him. Home is Houston, Texas,” Yarianna said.
Jaime and Yarianna also have a child together.
“I do feel sad that I can’t see my family. Unfortunately, I won’t see my kid learn new things. I’ll miss out on a lot of things. I’m grateful that they’re here right now,” Jaime said.
Green introduced a private bill asking for permanent residency for Avalos. He also wants to change the law that's on the books.
“This baby should not grow up without his father,” Green said. “He (Jaime) has spent all of his adult life in this country. He graduated from Bellaire High School. He has been working in this country. He has not committed any crimes. He is married to an American-born woman."
His son was also born in the United States.
Green said he knows it's an uphill battle and it could take a lot of time to get Jaime back, but the goal is to get him home to Houston.