Going through an immigration process requires patience, understanding and you must not lost hope

Father Juan Victor Gamino Trejo (right) photographed with Annabel Veloz of the DMRS Religious Workers Unit

            We would like to congratulate Father Juan Victor Gamimo Trejo on officially becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident with the help of Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services. Fr. Juan Victor is originally from Mexico and came to El Paso to serve the Diocese of El Paso as a religious worker, which allowed him to work in the U.S., apply for a green card, and eventually apply to become a U.S. citizen.

            Fr. Juan Victor faced many obstacles throughout this process that extended nearly two and a half years due to delays at U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, or USCIS. For a short period of time, Fr. Juan Victor was waiting on work authorization documents that prevented him from receiving a salary in the U.S. However, he remained committed to his calling within the Diocese of El Paso and donated his time as a religious worker. It was a stressful time for Fr. Juan Victor, which he said also took a toll on him personally, “During that time, I was unable to leave the country to visit my mother and my family in Mexico. I was unable to renew my driver’s license. This was somewhat stressful for me. I was worried,” said Gamino Trejo.

            After about a year, Fr. Juan Victor received a notice that his application for residency had been denied because there were no visas available. DMRS Deputy Director Anna Hey determined it was improperly denied and applied to reopen the case, which required another fee to be paid to USCIS. Fr. Juan Victor recalls reflecting on how difficult the process was for him despite being a  religious worker who is at an advantage and thought about how much harder it must be for people applying without that benefit.

“They live in fear, unable to trust the situations in which they are safe. This situation helped me understand what other immigrants experience while they wait and hope for their status to be approved,” he said.

            Father Juan Victor remembered when he received the call from Annabel Veloz, a representative in the DMRS Religious Workers unit, who notified him that his documents had finally arrived. He said it was a joyous and equally emotional moment that he jokes about now.

 “When Annabel called to notify me that my documents had arrived, she was already crying. I told her, ‘I was going to cry, but since I heard you crying, now I don’t have to,’” he joked.

            Fr. Juan Victor credits the positive outcome of this process to his faith throughout the process, as well as the people in the Diocese and those in his church community who were praying for him. For those who are undergoing a lengthy immigration process and are also worried about the outcome, Father Juan Victor offered this advice, “It requires patience, understanding and you must not lose hope.”

            If you or someone you know have questions about an immigration case, contact Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services at 915-532-3975 and dial 0 to speak to the operator to schedule a consultation. You may be eligible for free legal services.