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Border & Immigration

Deported Mother Of Army Officer Allowed To Reunite With Family

Rocio Rebollar Gomez waits to enter the United States through the San Ysidro Port of Entry on May 21st, 2021.
Matthew Bowler
Rocio Rebollar Gomez waits to enter the United States through the San Ysidro Port of Entry on May 21st, 2021.

Rocio Rebollar Gomez was in tears when she was sent to Mexico in the early days of 2020, shocked that she was being deported despite a program meant to keep the parents of active military members in the United States.

But on Thursday, in Tijuana, Gomez was crying tears of happiness — she was about to walk a few city blocks, cross a border and reenter the life she had built for herself and her family in the United States.

“I’m thankful to God more than anything, because this was really a miracle,” she said in an interview with KPBS, minutes before crossing the border.

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Gomez was allowed into the country under a deal that has been negotiated between the American Civil Liberties Union and the Biden administration, meant to allow especially vulnerable people into the U.S., while the administration keeps the asylum system closed to almost everyone else.

This policy presents a unique opportunity for people like Gomez. It’s incredibly rare for anyone who’d been previously deported, to not only be allowed by the government to reenter the United States, but also be allowed to live their life out of immigration custody and with their family.

“I have faith in the new administration,” Gomez said. “And that they’re fighting for families like mine, keeping the promises they made to immigrants in this country.”

On Thursday afternoon, at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Customs and Border Protection agents called out Gomez’s name. She walked past the wire fence that had kept her from her family, and later that night, she reunited with them, something that seemed impossible only a few weeks before.

Video: Deported Mother Of Army Officer Allowed To Reunite With Family In U.S.

Gomez was supported by the group Border Angels, and Unified Deported Veterans, which operates in Tijuana. Last month, Gomez told Dulce Garcia, the Executive Director of Border Angels, that she had been attacked and traumatized while in Tijuana. During a press conference on Friday, Garcia said that Gomez’s case is not unique for those removed to Tijuana.

“Like her, so many people that have been deported are still suffering from that deportation,” Garcia said.

On Friday, Gomez, joined by her son and daughter, seemed more than anything to be relieved that after more than a year of distance and pain, their family would finally be able to spend a weekend together.