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Deported Goleta grandmother welcomed home with surprise party

Blake DeVine / NC3
Blake DeVine / NC3

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A Goleta grandmother who was deported to Mexico two years ago finally returned home this weekend.

Juana Flores was deported to Mexico in 2019 under the Trump Administration's immigration policies, leaving behind 10 children, 18 grandchildren, her husband, a son in the US Military and a disabled son whom she cared for.

Goleta City Council members sympathized with the family and unanimously passed a resolution in support of returning Juana to her home.

Congressman Salud Carbajal found a way to bring her back through humanitarian parole.

Humanitarian parole allows individuals who are otherwise inadmissible into the United States the ability to enter the country for a temporary period of time, based on humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit.

Her return was celebrated with a surprise party at Oak Park in Santa Barbara Sunday afternoon.

Family members and friends attended as well as Congressman Carbajal and Goleta Mayor Paula Perotti.

Flores' daughter translated for her as she shared her gratitude to be home in Spanish. "She was very happy, very excited to be back home with her kids, and to see her house once again was the most amazing feeling.”

A mariachi band also performed at the party.

"It’s such a relief, it’s just all the emotions coming together," said daughter Kristina Flores. "It’s been amazing, it’s been just a dream come true, it’s been a miracle for sure.”

Juana reportedly lived in Santa Barbara County for over 30 years before being deported. She entered the U.S. from Mexico without a visa in 1988, two years after then-President Ronald Reagan signed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act granting status to undocumented immigrants.

Flores' humanitarian parole will last exactly one year, concluding in June 2022.

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.


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