Maine woman fighting to bring her deported husband back to U.S.

NOW: Wife visits deported husband in Guatemala

NAPLES, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Sandra Merlim can only speak to her husband by phone.

She can only see him in pictures. She can only feel connected to him through a piece of marble she brought back from a recent trip to Guatemala.

"I'll bring back a little piece of Guatemala until I can bring him," said Merlim. "When I saw him I just couldn't let go of him."

Her husband, Otto Morales-Caballeros, was deported from the United States in May and sent to his home country of Guatemala.

He was arrested in April on an outstanding removal order from 2010. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents said Morales-Caballeros was convicted on federal charges of felony use of fraudulent documents in 2013.

Merlim said his employer gave him a fake Social Security card when he came to the U.S. in late 1996. She said he used it so he could work. She says his friends discouraged him from applying for asylum, which caused barriers for his future in attempting to become a legal citizen.

Appeal attempts of his deportation have been denied because he did not immediately apply for asylum. Judges also denied his request for "withholding from removal," which gives him green card to work here.

"It's just so disheartening," said Merlim. "It's like the whole bottom dropped out of my world."

MORE: Immigration lawyer speaks about the process of becoming a U.S. citizen

She spent two weeks in Antigua, Guatemala, beginning at the end of June to visit him for the first time since he was taken away.

"The whole time we just had that in the back of our mind that I was going to have to come home and leave him and it's really hard to realize you have to do that," said Merlim. "We were kind of just on our honeymoon that we never did get a chance to take."

Morales-Caballeros arrest and deportation is part of a new directive from the Trump administration.

"I am all for getting rid of the' bad hombres' that they're talking about -- the really bad people that we've been taking care of that should be in their country for violent crimes and bad things, but my husband isn't one of these people," said Merlim. "I'm angry. I'm really angry. I'm heartbroken. They took my husband away."

Merlim said she has filed multiple waivers to begin the process of getting her husband back to Maine, including a form to obtain legal resident status in US for a non-citizen spouse, another form to waive the ten-year ban on deportees, and another filing for hardship because she relies on his income.

She said he his now waiting on the Guatemalan government to approve his identification card there so he can begin working there.

"I sleep on the couch every night," said Merlim. "I can't sleep in the bedroom without him."

Merlim said she will continue to do whatever she can to bring her husband back. Due to the extensive legal fees, she has set up a GoFundMe page.

"Nothing has changed between us. The only thing that's changed is the miles between us," said Merlim. "It's really heartwrenching for me to listen to him cry and say, 'I just want to come home.' I believe he belongs here and he does belong here and his tether to his country is me. I am his legal wife and I am not going to stop fighting until I get him home."

© 2017 WCSH-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
TRENDING VIDEOS