Parents fight for access to U.S. for 3-year-old son’s critical surgery

Noe Martinez (KVEO Photo)
Noe Martinez (KVEO Photo)

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — As he and his dad walk into his room, 3-year-old Noe Martinez is eager for his father to open the door.

Once dad opens the door, Noe storms inside ready to play with his toys. With a big smile on his face, Noe is waiting for his dad to start tossing every single ball he has in one basket. His dad goes over to the basket, picks it up and pours it out. With his eyes opened wide and a big smile on his face, Noe enjoys trying to catch every single one of those balls as he sits on the floor. As much as he wants to stand and try to kick those balls, Noe can’t do it due to his condition.

He was born with Hydrocephalus, and a severe form of Spina Bifida.

Since the moment he was born, his parents, who are from Mexico, had to take him to Corpus Christi multiple times for surgeries.

Traveling to Corpus Christi was never an issue for Noe’s parents. They would use their travel visas, and letters from doctors to get Noe to Corpus Christi to receive the medical attention he needs. Noe is also a U.S. citizen, so he can travel anywhere in the country.

All of that changed last October.

Immigration lawyer, Norma Sepulveda, says Noe and his parents were stopped at the checkpoint in Sarita, and were denied access to travel to Corpus Christi.

“They were en route to Corpus Christi, and when they got to the checkpoint, they told them that they were no longer going to let them cross the checkpoint with their appointment letters from the doctors. They were told they needed a travel document to be able to cross the checkpoint in addition to their tourist visa,” said Sepulveda.

She helped Noe’s parents fill out and send a request for a deferred action to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office.

“The formal request was a request for what’s called a Deferred Action Based on Humanitarian Reasons. That was done in October. In December we were asked for more evidence to support that request. We complied and submitted everything that was asked from us. A couple of days ago, we received a letter in the mail denying the request for deferred action for Noe and Wendy,” said Sepulveda.

The denial letter didn’t give any specific reasons as to why Noe’s parents, Noe Arnulfo Martinez Treviño and Wendy Armendariz, were denied the deferred action.

News Center 23 reached out to USCIS for a comment, but didn’t get a response. The lawyer handling the case for Noe’s parents says there’s no appeals process and it’s a final decision.

Noe’s dad says this is very unfair for them. “For us, it is an injustice. We’re doing everything legally. We’re turning in all the required paperwork. We’re here legally in the U.S. It’s just unfair because all his specialists are in Corpus Christi and Houston,” said Martinez.

Noe has a crucial surgery scheduled in August. As of now, his parents don’t know if he’ll be able to be there due to the situation they’re in.

Along with their lawyer, Noe’s mother says they will pressure USCIS to look at their case again, and grant them permission to travel again.

“I hope they have some consideration, and give us an opportunity to help out or child. He really needs the medical attention. We just want him to get help, so he can start walking, and go on with his life and study,” said Armendariz.

Noe and Wendy have also reached out to Congressman Filemon Vela to help them out with this case.

At the moment, they plan to keep fighting and get permission to travel again before August comes around.

A petition has also been created for anyone that wants to support the parents.

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