Colorado father, whose 2020 deportation drew national attention, returns from Mexico

Attorneys and advocates say the situation is rare and was helped by a series of court decisions

Saja Hindi
Denver Post
Jorge Zaldivar Mendieta, second from left, receives an embrace from his son, Francysco, 12, at the dinner table at their home on November 03, 2022. Jorge’s wife, Christina, left, looked on. Zaldivar Mendieta was deported to Mexico in 2019, but was brought back for an appeals hearing in December to due an ICE administrative error in his paperwork.
Andy Cross/The Denver Post

A Colorado man whose legal case attracted national attention before he was deported to Mexico was allowed back into the U.S. in October and is now one step closer to gaining legal residency.

Jorge Zaldivar Mendieta, 47, flew back to Colorado from Mexico on humanitarian parole on Oct. 13 for an appeal hearing on his deportation case. The hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7, but this week, his attorney, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement filed a motion together asking a judge to allow him to stay.

Immigration attorneys and advocates say it’s rare for someone to come back to the U.S. for an appeal after being deported for a variety of reasons, including having the financial resources to fight it and getting the courts to reopen an appeal after someone has already left the country.

Several court decisions, including the 2021 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Niz-Chavez v. Garland, also played a part in helping move Zaldivar Mendieta’s case forward.

But his wife, Christina Zaldivar, won’t breathe a sigh of relief until the case is resolved and her husband can get his green card. On Oct. 11, she said she got an email saying his return to the U.S. was approved, but he had to arrive between Oct. 12 and 14. On the 13th, he landed in Denver.


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