Sherman family torn apart over father's immigration status - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Sherman family torn apart over father's immigration status

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SHERMAN -- It's been four months since Ricardo Villalobos has seen his two children.

His family says he came to the U.S. from Mexico in the early 90's as an undocumented immigrant.

He married a U.S. citizen and had been supporting his family as a construction worker. But that ended in September when Villalobos was deported.

"It's made Kristen and her kids' life harder," her sister, Jody Pratt said. "She may even have to get on federal assistance because they took him away."

The Villalobos family believes if an immigration plan like the one President Obama is pushing for was already in place, Ricardo may still be here.

Under the new plan, Senators from both parties agreed that to get a green card and years later, citizenship, undocumented immigrants would:

--register with federal government

--pay fines and back taxes

--undergo criminal background checks

--and learn English.

John Nix is an immigration attorney in Sherman who sees requiring illegal immigrants to pay back taxes from the time they arrived in the states as a better idea than spending countless taxpayer dollars deporting them.

"Whether you stand on the conservative or the liberal side of immigration, sometimes you've got to look at something and say, ‘Are we going to spend millions deporting them or are we going to make millions of dollars accepting them?'" he said.

As for the Villalobos family, Nix says what they're going through is common for the families of illegal immigrants for which he works.

"It's terrible," he said. "Whether it's right or wrong that they're here, you can't avoid the emotion that these people go through."

But as Washington begins to tangle over this latest round of immigration reform, the Villalobos say they're living with what can happen if the newest plan to create a pathway to citizenship slips through the cracks.