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Stranded in Mexico: Family spends Christmas without husband, father amid immigration battle

MILWAUKEE -- Kathryn Aispuro got her Christmas wish this year, even if the holiday wasn't as she planned it.

Her husband, Edgar Aispuro, has been in Mexico for six weeks after U.S. consulate officials blocked his return. But,this week, Kathryn learned that the consulate had suddenly reversed its decision and would allow her husband to come back to the U.S. soon.

"Probably the hardest day of my life was decorating the Christmas tree," Kathryn told Fox 6 with the couple's two young sons nearby. "It's been awful."

Edgar and Kathryn Aispuro and children

Edgar and Kathryn Aispuro and children

Edgar Aispuro was born in Mexico but has been in the U.S. since 2003. That year, he overstayed a visitor visa, remaining in the country illegally.

The Aispuro family has been trying to get permanent legal resident status for Edgar since 2009, when he and Kathryn - a Milwaukee native - married.

Edgar Aispuro, who is a chef at C-Viche restaurant in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood, flew to Mexico on Nov. 16 for an interview at the U.S. consulate. His wife said she believed it was part of the normal process.

"When he called me (from Juarez, Mexico), he just said 'I`m sorry. I got barred,'" Kathryn Aispuro recalled. "They handed him back his passport and this piece of paper, and said, 'Thank you very much. You can try again in 10 years."

A one-page denial letter from the consulate shows the decision was made because Aispuro had been in the U.S. illegally for more than a year.

Kathryn contacted the office of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin. A Baldwin aide confirmed the senator's office has "acted as an intermediary between our constituent and the federal office."

On Tuesday, Dec. 20 -- more than a month since Edgar Aispuro flew to Mexico -- Kathryn Aispuro learned that consulate officials had reversed their decision and would allow her husband to return to the U.S.

Edgar and Kathryn Aispuro and children

Edgar and Kathryn Aispuro and children

Kathryn Aispuro said telling her sons, 3-year-old Santiago and 2-year-old Sam, was a special moment.

"I said, 'Your daddy’s coming home in a couple weeks," Kathryn Aispuro recalled. "My older one said, 'It’s taking so long!' And I just thought, oh sweetheart, you have no idea what it could’ve been."

Kathryn Aispuro said she hasn't heard when federal officials will allow her husband to return to Milwaukee, but remains hopeful that it will happen by New Year's Day.

She said the family has spent almost $18,000 since 2009 on immigration paperwork.  As of Christmas Day, the GoFundMe page that Kathryn Aispuro created has received $12,030 toward its goal.