Sioux Falls, SD
Immigration is an issue that has divided this country. It's also divided a KELOLAND family.
KELOLAND Investigates has an update on an investigation into a heartbreaking case of separation that's turning into desperation.
This story begins at the Sioux Falls airport where 16 months ago Bertin Flores Solorzano flew home to his native Mexico.
The undocumented immigrant was trying to do the right thing, obtain a visa, instead he was denied and he's been stuck in Mexico 1800 miles away from his family ever since.
Bertin Flores Solarzano first came to the United States as a 13 year old to escape horrific poverty in Mexico. He worked illegally as a farm hand for years, but after marrying Andrea Hargens-Flores, becoming a stepfather to her two children and having two children of his own, the couple took steps to get him his visa. They hired an immigration attorney and doled out thousands of dollars.
"Everything went so smoothly. I was just thinking, 'We got it made,'" Andrea said on February 15, 2017.
But after Bertin arrived in Mexico things didn't go so smoothly. While Bertin has no criminal record, he was required to visit a doctor as part of the visa process. The doctor determined Bertin was an alcoholic and therefore dangerous.
"It's totally false. I was just floored that they were thinking he was an alcoholic. There's no, there's no proof to that. It's corrupt; everything is corrupt down there," Andrea said on February 15, 2017.
"And I didn't understand what he tried to tell me. And he said I cannot have my visa and I asked him and he said, 'You can try again,'" Bertin said on February 15, 2017.
Bertin was told he would have to wait a year for another visa interview. That year was up November first and it took several more months to book a new appointment.
"If he's gonna have to be gone, if you're gonna make him wait, why wait a year? Why does it take a year? And when the year is up, why does it take so long to get another interview?" Andrea said.
Andrea flew to Mexico to be by her husband's side this time around. In the year and a half Bertin has been gone, Andrea gave birth to the couple's third child and their 4 year old has been diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening disease.
Coming up tonight on Eye on KELOLAND, We show you the latest efforts to bring Bertin home and the toll it's taking on his wife and young children. That's tonight's Eye on KELOLAND at ten.
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