He lived more than three decades as undocumented with fear of deportation and cheated by a notary

Eduardo Chamu, a Mexican immigrant whose wife left him with six children, achieved one of his biggest dreams, obtaining residence in the United States after more than three decades of living in the shadows. An immigration judge granted it to avoid the extreme suffering of their children born in the United States if they were deported.

“I feel very happy, very happy,” exclaims Eduardo who confesses that he lived for many years with fear that he would be deported and that his children would be orphaned.

And he was not right, he had a deportation order that came after he put his luck in the hands of a notary and a couple of lawyers who made him pass as a Central American and requested political asylum.

Eduardo, 50, left his town Coyuca de Catalán in the state of Guerrero in 1989 to come to the United States in search of a better life.

Eduardo Chamu Urieta, single father of six children celebrates his permanent residence. (Aurelia Ventura / Opinion / courtesy Paulina Herrera)

In 1995 he married a Central American woman he met in Costa Mesa County where he worked in the agriculture of the surrounding ranches.

The couple had six sons. The smallest are twins. In 2009 they decided to separate. The judge determined that the children would be divided, three with each parent. However, one day, the wife phoned him to tell him to go to the apartment to take care of the children.

The wife left and never returned. The greatest of his children was then 13 years old. In the last ten years, Eduardo made her father and mother.

Eduardo Chamu Urieta I wait 30 years to be a resident of the USA. (Aurelia Ventura / The Opinion)

In search of status

But prior to his marital problems, in 2001 he had gone to a notary in search of some solution to his immigration status.

"They told me they were going to fix me for the time, but in 2006 I received a deportation order because they made me go through Central America, they applied for political asylum and they denied it," he recalls.

Thereafter and for several years, he combed Orange County in search of a good immigration lawyer.

“I went with everyone who went out giving interviews or advertised in the media. I thought they were good for going on TV. They took thousands of dollars over a period of seven years. They never did anything. There was only in Los Angeles, a lawyer who did not charge me for the consultation. He was honest and told me he couldn't do anything for me, ”he says.

As all the doors were closed, Eduardo says he was accumulating a lot of courage and frustration.

“Finally, I went to the lawyer Eric Price's office in Los Angeles. To him, it seemed a special case. He gave me no hope, but I felt confident when he told me that he guaranteed me that they would not deport me while the process was taking place, which was going to be long, he warned me. ”

Eduardo Chamu Urieta with his immigration lawyer Eric Price. (Aurelia Ventura / The Opinion)

He left the defender's offices with much more certainty and certainty about his future. "They immediately got me a work permit," he says.

It was the immigration lawyer Denise Cabrera of Price's legal team who was assigned her case.

"He came to see us for a consultation in 2013. We reviewed his entire file and requested in 2015 that the case be reopened in the Migration Court," he says.

A year later they got the reopening. “This was possible when, when investigating, we realized that the two lawyers who took their case, and that in turn were hired by the notary Eduardo approached, had problems in the Bar of California. One did not have his active license; and the other had been discharged, ”he says.

These fundamental failures in the defense orchestrated by the notary allowed lawyer Cabrera to reopen the case in court.

"That meant in practice that the deportation order weighing on Eduardo was suspended," he explains.

After several hearings at the immigration court in Los Angeles, the single father accompanied by his children, went to court.

“His two children under 13 and 18 testified. The 18-year-old, a senior high school student talked about what his life had been like since his mother abandoned them. He told the judge that his father was everything to them, and they didn't want to see their mother again, ”says the lawyer.

And according to the defender, the judge was very shocked by the statements of Eduardo's children.

"She could tell how they were affected," he says.

In that audience and on the same day, In January 2018, after hearing the testimony of the children, the judge approved the residence for Eduardo based on the extreme suffering that would result in his US citizens, the deportation of his father and sole provider.

However, he says that because only 10,000 residence cards are given per year, to people whose deportation was canceled, Eduardo had to wait almost two years to receive it.

Eduardo Chamu Urieta walks his youngest children to school. (Aurelia Ventura / Opinion / Courtesy Paulina Herrera)


The lawyer considers that the case of this father was difficult for all the time and effort involved.

“There are many lessons he leaves, first be patient. It took Eduardo five years to obtain his residence, between 2013 and 2019; The second lesson is that they do not put their migratory destiny in the hands of people who do not have the preparation like public notaries, ”he says.

He clarifies that a notary public in the United States is not a lawyer as in other Latin American countries. “Sometimes they only do a four-hour course to take an exam and become notaries. Some only have high school, and what they do is complicate the cases of immigrants, ”he says.

Eduardo Chamu Urieta brought forward only his six children. (Aurelia Ventura / Opinion / Courtesy Paulina Herrera)

A very strong emotion

Last week, Eduardo received his residence by mail.

“I received three envelopes. In the third one I opened, my resident card was coming, ”he says with a smile from ear to ear.

“My second dream was already achieved, to buy a little ranch in Bakersfield where I took my children to grow more freely and in a healthier environment,” he says.

His third dream is to go visit his town. "In more than 30 years I have not been able to return to Mexico," he says.

But the best thing that the US residence card has brought you is to see the joy on your children's faces.

"They are very happy. They also lived for many years with fear that they would separate us", He says.

"Nor do I explain myself how I did it to take them forward only while I struggled with my pain for the abandonment of who my wife was and with the immigration lawyers who only took money from me," he admits.


Eduardo's two oldest children, José Eduardo, 24, and Johnys Davis, 21, have already become independent.

They still live with him, their son Adiel Adolfo, 20, Adrián, 16, and their twin children Jason and Jefferson, 13.


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