Pamela Hoyt, a lifelong Plano resident, traveled to Juarez, Mexico in September to meet with a consular to finish the process for a green card she began applying for in 2016. The trip that was supposed to last only a couple of days turned into a two-month wait for an eight-month pregnant Hoyt after she learned that because her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient status was renewed later than allowed, an “unlawful presence” status was triggered.
Update 11/23/2022: The original story stated that Hoyt’s DACA recipient status was still expired, it has since been updated. We regret the error.
Hoyt moved to DFW when she was only two and has lived in North Texas her whole life, she graduated from Plano West Senior High School, got married there and had two children. Since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program started in 2012, she was a recipient but this year she applied late for her renewal.
“The max you’re allowed to let your DACA expire is six months and I went two months over. I went eight months,” said Hoyt in an interview with NBCDFW. That’s the reason she can’t legally return to the U.S., even though she consulted with her attorney before traveling to Juarez for the consular interview who assured her it was okay to go.
“I miss home. I miss my husband. I know my kids also miss their school, their dad, all our family over there,” said Hoyt. Now her family is pleading for help to bring her back home in Plano. While stuck in Mexico these past two months she delivered her third child.
For now, Hoyt, who is staying in Juarez with her newborn and two children, will have to wait for an I-601 waiver to be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which would allow her to re-enter the country by forgiving the “unlawful presence” triggered by the DACA recipient status expiration. Due to COVID delaying application processes it’s taking around 22 to 26 months for the USCIS to process this kind of waiver.
In the meantime, Hoyt’s family has launched an online petition for state lawmakers to grant her humanitarian parole while the waiver is processed.