TURLOCK, Calif. (AP) — A mother who says she was abruptly deported to her native Honduras three years ago without the chance to say goodbye to her young children has been reunited with her family in Central California.
Maria Chaparro returned to Turlock earlier this month and is spending the holiday with her husband and three children, ages 13, 15 and 25, The Modesto Bee reported on Tuesday.
"I am so grateful that we can be together as a family in our home here," Chaparro said.
Chaparro came to the United States from Honduras when she was 19. She said she was defrauded by a man who purported to be an immigration attorney when she later tried to obtain legal residency, and her name ended up on a deportation list.
Immigration officials came to her home in 2010 and took her away before deporting her to Honduras.
She was not able to say goodbye to her young children and only saw her husband briefly at an immigration holding facility in Fresno, she said.
In Honduras, she had to find family members. She kept in touch with her family in Turlock through Skype, but was repeatedly told by U.S. officials that she would have to spend at least ten years out of the country before she could return.
She received help, however, from two churches that hired a private investigator to dig up facts about the man who defrauded her and a new immigration attorney.
Her husband, Cesar, received a call about a month ago that she was given probationary status and could return for about a year while she tried to get permanent residency, the Bee reported.
"It's indescribable, the way I feel right now," Chaparro's husband said. "We went through hard times, but now we are back together again. It's a miracle."