An ailing Amarillo man says an immigration backlog is standing in the way of his marriage and his health.
Jerry Guillen says he suffers from diabetes, congestive heart failure, and other health problems. Because of a backlog in applications filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, those are problems he could be facing alone for years to come.
Fifteen pills - that's how many Jerry Guillen says he takes every day to keep his ailments from diabetes to depression under control. "It's taking a toll on me. It's taking the best of me. I mean, what's gonna be left when she gets here? If I'm here," says Guillen. Guillen married his Mexican wife Rosita in May, and says right away he applied to bring her to the U.S. But the federal government reports a surge in legal status applications is causing delays of up to eighteen months.
Social worker Al Muniz says that's because so many people filed ahead of a fee raise, and now Guillen and his wife must keep waiting. "Because they are behind, she doesn't have any way to come to the country right now," says Muniz. Guillen says his poor health would make it dangerous to visit his wife in Mexico.
He had hoped she would be here to celebrate Christmas with him. "It's just another day for me. I mean she tells me that we'll make up for the time that we lost but I'm missing another part of me and that's her," says Guillen. He says he's been told his wife could legally be here in as soon as six months, or as long as three years.