Business owner highlights long wait for siblings to acquire U.S. residency

Mercedes Flowers taking part in "A Day Without Immigrants." (KXAN Photo)
Mercedes Flowers taking part in "A Day Without Immigrants." (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — This is always the craziest week of the year at Mercedes Flowers, a local flower shop near the “Y” in Oak Hill.

Owner Mercedes Anderson says the closed sign on the front door is not a sign of exhaustion after Valentine’s Day. She decided to take part in “A Day Without Immigrants.”

“I come from an immigrant family,”said Anderson. “I have to stand with them. I stand with those who [come to the U.S.] legally, but I also have compassion for those who haven’t.”

Anderson is a legal U.S. citizen who was born in Texas to a mother from Mexico, who became an American citizen legally under the President Reagan administration.

“Like everybody else, she wanted a better life for her children,” said Anderson, who is proud to carry on the family business her grandmother started in Mexico more than 50 years ago.

Mercedes Anderson and her mother, Mercedes, on her wedding day. (Family Photo)
Mercedes Anderson and her mother, Mercedes, on her wedding day. (Family Photo)

Anderson’s mother went on to open two flower shops, one in El Paso and one in New Mexico. She eventually retired, and then in 2011 Anderson decided it was time to enter the flower business, too.

She is one of seven siblings. While Anderson and her sister are U.S. Citizens, her five older brothers and sisters have a different father, live in Mexico and are all Mexican citizens.

In 2006, Anderson says her mother started petitioning for U.S. residency for two of her siblings to enable them to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis. They are still waiting 11 years later.

“We are not in a situation where we are in desperate need to flee our country, or my brothers and sisters to flee their country, so we’re OK,” said Anderson. “We’re OK waiting, but some people don’t have the time we do.”

An immigration lawyer told Anderson’s brother because he’s married he is at the bottom of the priority list for residency, and could be very old or no longer alive by the time a decision is made.

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