WASHINGTON – 8-year-old Ashton Rochester has maintained a wish for almost half of his young life, and he shared that wish in a video message in hopes it will reach decision-makers.
“I wish my mom would come home,” Ashton said. “Please help my mom get home, President Biden. “
Her mother Cecilia Gonzalez-Carmona self-deported to Mexico in 2018 because she lived in Roswell as an undocumented immigrant and the policies of the Trump administration no longer allowed her to stay.
The family believed she could apply for citizenship and return within a year, but they later learned that the law had banned her for at least ten years before she could even try to go through the process. back to the United States.
Ashton’s father Jason Rochester said shortly after he left, doctors found a tumor on Ashton’s kidney.
Luckily, the third grader is now healthy, but it has been a tough journey without his mother by his side as he battles cancer.
“I’m doing everything I can to get my wife home,” said Jason Rochester. “[Ashton] has questions sometimes obviously but that’s been almost half of his life. It’s normal for him which for me is the sad part of the story.
We first spoke to you in Rochester’s history last year, when he came to Capitol Hill shortly before the pandemic began to urge lawmakers to reform immigration laws to help to bring his wife home.
“We’re just letting them know we need a change,” Rochester said in February 2020.
Now Rochester is pushing for the passage of HR 2920, the “American Families United Act”.
According to the legislation, the “bill authorizes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the Department of Justice (DOJ) to exercise discretion in certain immigration cases. The bill also removes certain birthright requirements.
The proposal has more than 30 co-sponsors in the House and all but one are Democrats.
Representative Nikema Williams (D-GA) is one of the co-sponsors of the legislation and said in a statement:
“Our immigration system is broken and fixing it shouldn’t be a partisan issue. I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of the American Families United Act to keep Georgian families, like the Rochester-Gonzalez-Carmona family, together. The American Families United Act, along with the US Citizenship Act, the American Dream and Promise Act, and other legislative solutions will contribute to comprehensive immigration reform. I will continue to do my best to support the passage of common sense legislation that will bring long-awaited systemic fixes to our immigration system. “
But for Rochester, frustration mounts as the proposal appears to have stalled on Capitol Hill.
So far, it has only been presented to the House and not the Senate, and gaining Republican support could prove difficult.
When Gonzalez-Carmona left in 2018, the Trump administration defended its immigration policies, saying they restored law and order.
Rochester said he had contacted his local U.S. officials and U.S. senators about HR 2920.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) said: “Our office remains in contact with Mr. Rochester to try to help his family. Due to the nature of confidential records, we cannot offer further updates at this time. “
Rochester argues that the bill can help families of undocumented immigrants who have had no other legal issues and he hopes to see it gain bipartisan support.
“We’re not asking for any additional treatment, special treatment,” Rochester said. “We are just asking them to consider us when they are making their policies.”
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