The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has decided to allow back into the country a Harvard University film student who is an undocumented immigrant and has spent months stranded in Mexico City, barred from entering the United States.
ABC News reports Dario Guerrero left the country in violation of his agreement with the U.S. government when he decided to travel to Mexico to visit his mother who was dying of kidney cancer.
He said he left because he couldn’t wait for an official response from the government, though he had applied for a parole visa.
"The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service did a great thing just a few minutes ago and they granted and approved Dario's humanitarian parole visa request so he can return to America. He should be back in America in a few days," Guerrero's lawyer, Alan Klein, said of the ruling.
"Oh my God. I don't know. I feel good!" Guerrero told The Associated Press upon learning the news.
Guerrero was brought to the country illegally when he was two years old. He said he didn’t learn of his immigration status until he was 16.
He recently detailed his journey from learning his status to earning a scholarship to Harvard University in a recent article for The Washington Post.
When he learned his mother was dying he said he made a rash decision, responding to family pressure, to leave the country in violation of his agreement. He knew he might have trouble coming back.
“My mom had a lot of ups and downs,” he said. “The decision to actually leave was made overnight.”
But, he said, he doesn’t regret that he went to be with his mother, who died in August.
“I didn't think it would take this long,” Guerrero said. “I thought I'd be back in time for fall semester. I've learned a lot — but I'm glad I made this decision.”
Ira Kurzban, a Miami-area immigration attorney, said he sees many cases like Guerrero’s. He said some immigrants leave on cruises, not understanding they are leaving the country when they do so. When they return they are often told they are barred from entering the country for 10 years.
Guerrero’s attorney and other experts applauded the so-called humanitarian parole decision that will allow the film student back into the country, saying barring him would have been too harsh, given he left quickly to visit a dying relative.
“There's no question (Guerrero) didn't follow the rules. The question is what the penalty should be,” Kurzban said.