Mexican immigrant received precious gift from late wife: U.S. permanent residency

Ricardo Rodriguez shows his work permit last month. He also got his lawful permanent resident card, which gives him the right to live and work in the U.S. and travel outside the country. He will be able to apply for citizenship after five years. (Selene Rivera / Los Angeles Times)

Simona Rodríguez’s sudden death in December 2020 jolted her husband, Ricardo.

The couple had shared 42 years of their lives. They’d raised two children after immigrating to the United States. They’d dreamed of visiting relatives in Mexico, but Ricardo lacked the legal documents that would’ve given him the freedom to travel abroad.

Yet, since Simona’s death, the 71-year-old immigrant has discovered that his beloved wife left him an unexpected and precious gift: a permanent resident card.

The card, which he was able to obtain through filing Form I-360, known as a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, which can be procured through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is a versatile document that certain immigrants can file with the agency as part of their green card application process.

It can be submitted by an array of noncitizens, including members of the U.S. armed forces; Amerasian children of certain U.S. service members who served during the Korean and Indochina wars; Panama Canal Zone government employees; Afghan or Iraqi nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government as an interpreter; immigrants who were victims of violence or extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen spouse or relative; and the widow or widower of a U.S. citizen.

When Simona became a U.S. citizen seven years ago, she wanted to submit an I-130 application — a predecessor of the I-360 — on behalf of her husband for permanent residency status. But, out of his masculine pride, Ricardo Rodríguez had refused his wife’s help.

“I grew up with the mentality and teaching that a man should provide and help his partner, and not the other way around,” he said. “I did not want to bother Simona in a process that can result in several visits to the immigration lawyer, the collection of personal documents, and the tedium of filling out the documentation for the immigration office.”

He also harbored vague, ultimately futile hopes that the United States might someday get around to enacting comprehensive immigration reform. But several U.S. presidents came and went with no change.

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Source: Los Angeles Times

Baja California Post