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Arizona ‘Dreamers’ make emotional visit to homeland

PHOENIX — After decades of being separated from friends and family, two Arizona DREAMers were afforded the opportunity to visit their homes in Mexico.

DREAMers, young illegal immigrants who are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, often fear that if they leave the United States, they won’t be allowed to come back because they lack documentation. That keeps many from visiting their homes and relatives.

A group of 40 DREAMers, however, was recently allowed to return to the US after traveling to Mexico City.

“We had the opportunity to travel to Mexico after many years of not being there,” Erika Andiola said. “I hadn’t been to Mexico since I was 11 years old– so 17 years ago.”

Andiola traveled from the Valley into Mexico with the group. She said visiting her home country as an adult was an eye-opening experience.

“To me it was a crazy experience just because it was a chance to go back and see my culture and see a lot of what I left when I was a child,” she said.

The group was allowed the rare travel opportunity by the Department of Homeland Security, which issued the group advanced-parole documents to re-enter the U.S.