LINCOLN PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — "It was a good Christmas," Jorge Garcia said quietly, sitting on the couch in his Lincoln Park home next to his wife, Cindy.
The greatest gift of all came when Jorge spotted his wife and children at the airport on Christmas Day. They were there to pick him up after nearly two years.
Garcia was deported to Mexico in January 2018. His parents brought him to the United States without documentation as a child, and he missed the qualifying age for DACA by one year.
REUNITED: Cindy and Jorge Garcia relax at their home in Lincoln Park. Jorge says this was his best Christmas yet, as he returned to the U.S. after nearly two years in Mexico, after he was deported in 2018 @wxyzdetroit pic.twitter.com/TFl9wSuFP6— Jenn Schanz (@JennSchanzWXYZ) January 10, 2020
He spent time in Chicago, but lived most of his adult life in metro Detroit. In 2004, Jorge started the process of trying to obtain legal citizenship.
"It was in the back of my mind that something like that was going to happen, but at the same time I was thinking that it wasn't going to happen because we were doing the paperwork," he told 7 Action News.
Shortly after the New Year in 2018, he had to leave the place he considered home.
"It was devastating," said Cindy Garcia.
For months and months, Cindy worked tirelessly to bring her husband home. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell also worked to help the family bring Jorge back to metro Detroit.
Then Jorge learned he was granted two waivers by Homeland Security, which allowed him to return to the United States. He flew home on Christmas Day, and now also has a permanent resident card.
While the Garcia family’s story has happy ending, Cindy said she’s determined to raise awareness about what she calls a broken immigration system, to help other families going through the same thing.
"For the people like my husband to have been here over 30 years, there needs to be a pathway for them to be here," Cindy said. "Not for them to be able to be separated from their families and go through what we did."
The Garcia family, along with Congresswoman Dingell, are expected to hold a press conference Friday on their journey, and the changes they'd like to see to current immigration policy.