16 January 2012

Argentine family unlikely to be deported despite lacking US visa

An Argentine family which fled their country's economic crisis to Florida has been told they 'probably' won't be deported even though they are technically undocumented.

American visa

The Flores family have been allowed to stay in the US, despite not having a US visa.

The Flores family joined thousands of other Argentine migrants who left the country in the wake of Argentina's major economic crash in 2001. The family settled in South Florida, taking advantage of the policy at the time which allowed Argentine visitors to enter the country without a US visa.

Although the US visa they were granted did not allow indefinite stay, the Flores family were still in Florida over a decade later. However, US immigration authorities have slowly but surely been catching up with the thousands of Argentines in the country illegally and on the 14th December 2011, they caught up with the Flores family.

Arriving at the Flores' North Miami home, both Ruben Flores and his wife Claudia Quevedo were detained and when their 22 year old daughter Rocio came to investigate, she too was taken into custody.

After being released from a detention centre fitted with electronic bracelets, the Flores family were informed that they must return to Argentina by 21st January.

The news understandably shocked the family: "if the deportation is carried out, this is going to destroy the family and ruin what we built during the last 10 years" said Rocio Flores.

The family originally worked at a local pizzeria in the Bay Harbor Islands area of Miami-Dade; in 2010, they bought the establishment.

However, despite this worrying news, it would seem as though they might not have to return to Argentina, as the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcements agency (ICE) have confirmed they have no plans to deport the Flores family.

This confirmation would appear to be in line with the Obama administration’s efforts to concentrate on deporting foreign nations with criminal convictions and to try and allow as many families to remain together as possible.

The Flores family also consists of Danina who, like Rocio has married a US citizen and is therefore eligible to apply for legal residency as well as brothers Edgard and Dilhan, the latter of which was born in the US.

The permission to stay has obviously delighted the Flores family yet ICE have been quick to confirm that they will not be stopping their detaining of undocumented immigrants and with the US Presidential election about to get into full swing, US immigration is likely to become an ever more uncertain issue.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.

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