Maria Mendoza Sanchez celebrates her return to Oakland.

Jeffrey Schaub/ KCBS Radio

Deported Mom Rejoices At Her 'Miracle' Return To Bay Area

Jeffrey Schaub
December 17, 2018 - 10:15 am

OAKLAND — Family and friends celebrated the return of Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, a nurse, who'd been deported  to Mexico 16 months ago as the Trump administration imposed a stricter immigration policy.

Mendoza-Sanchez's case attracted significant attention last year because the mother of four had lived and worked in the Bay Area for decades as an undocumented immigrant. 

But now she's back thanks to the work of attorneys and her employer, Highland Hospital, which sponsored her application for a visa.

"I'm really happy that in this climate right now that we were able to get an H-1B Visa approved," she said. "I mean that is a miracle."

The visa will allow her to work as an oncology nurse in the U.S. for the next three years. Her husband, Eusebio Sanchez, who was also deported, however, remains in Mexico. 

The experience of being separated from her children was "the worst time of my life," Mendoza-Sanchez said. 

She and her husband crossed the border into the U.S. in the 1990s and began trying to obtain work visas in 2002. 

A permit program enabled them to stay in the country, and according to Mendoza-Sanchez, the family felt secure during the Obama administration. 

"We were okay, but once President Trump won the election, we knew things were going to change," she said.

Mendoza-Sanchez was able to start the return process after she won an H-1B visa drawing in April. Her application was sponsored by Highland Hospital, and late last month, was approved by a State Department official at the U.S. Consulate in Mexico. 

Politicians, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Oakland Mayor LIbby Schaaf, had advocated for her return. 

Written by Diana Shook