A tale from the immigration front lines

From the Farmington (NM) Daily Times http://www.daily-times.com/search/ci_4645530 Local Holiday Inn Express manager in jail on
immigration charges; husband fights for her return

By Rhys Saunders The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — For the first two nights of a local
woman's imprisonment at the Regional Corrections
Facility in Albuquerque, she was forced to sleep on a
cold, concrete slab.

It took a phone call from U.S. Rep. Tom Udall's office
to get Farmington resident Gloria McKelvey a
toothbrush and toothpaste while she was being held on
illegal immigration charges.

For nearly a week, the Holiday Inn Express general
manager went without the bare necessities, huddled in
a cell and unable to contact her husband, Bob.

Nearly two months after her September detainment on
federal charges of illegal immigration, Gloria
McKelvey's family is still trying to make sense of an
Albuquerque court visit that unexpectedly ended in her

The story of Gloria McKelvey's arrest and subsequent
detainment is entangled and begs questions of the
United States' immigration process and treatment of
people alleged to have entered the nation illegally,
said Bob McKelvey.

Because Bob and Gloria have been married less than two
years, prosecuting attorneys believe the union is
fraudulent, he said. "They're making me decide between
my wife and my children," Bob McKelvey said, noting he
has two daughters, aged 16 and 19, who live in San
Juan County. "If they deport Gloria, I have to go with

Gloria's story

Gloria's story began in 1982 when she was 18 years

In 1982, Gloria McKelvey immigrated to the United
States from her native country, Columbia, with her
family on a temporary work visa, said Bob McKelvey.
She returned to Columbia in 1993 after learning that
her father was ill and needed medical attention.

In 1998, Gloria returned to the United States after
becoming engaged to Farmington native Gregory
Anderson, who she later married, Bob McKelvey said. At
that time, she was issued a fiancee visa under
then-U.S. President Bill Clinton's amnesty program.

Anderson and Gloria McKelvey stayed married for more
than five years, although they separated earlier in
the relationship.

"When they got married they filed the papers
immediately," Bob said. "They were together for about
18 months and then separated. He went to Texas and she
stayed in Farmington."

Gloria filed her first I-130 Petition for Alien
Relative form in 1998 after she and Anderson were
married. The form allows immigrants to permanently
reside in the United States if their spouses are
legalized citizens.

When the couple separated, neither filed for a change
of address. When the Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) sent notice for a hearing about Gloria's
I-130 form in 2000, she did not receive the summons
because she was living at a different address.

Both Anderson and Gloria McKelvey sent letters to the
INS requesting information about Gloria's legalization

"They got divorced in 2004 because she and I wanted to
get married," Bob said.

In September, Gloria received a letter from the INS
notifying her of a Sept. 25 naturalization hearing in
Albuquerque. When she and Bob arrived at the INS
headquarters in Albuquerque, legalization documents in
hand, they were immediately separated and led to two
separate rooms for questioning.

Legal entanglement and detainment

"They told me my wife was under arrest," Bob McKelvey
said. "Then they told me not to do anything stupid."

During what the couple believed to be a routine
hearing, INS personnel transported Gloria to the
Regional Correctional Facility in Albuquerque. Bob was
not allowed to see her, and was told he needed $1,500
to bond his wife out of jail.

"I called a friend in Albuquerque, explained the
situation to him and got a check for $1,500," he said.
"I made it out to Homeland Security."

When Bob returned to bail his wife out of the
facility, INS personnel told him there was no longer
any bond because his wife was a "flight risk."

Bob sat at the clerk's desk, tears streaming down from
his eyes, until he was finally allowed to speak with
his wife.

Gloria and Bob refiled the I-130 form Oct. 26 of this
year, in hopes that the legal process would be more
expedient the second time around, Bob said. Since her
detainment, Bob's attorney has filed several motions
to release Gloria from the detention facility. Those
motions were denied by prosecutors who claim the
marriage is fraudulent because the couple has been
legally betrothed for less than two years.

Bob said he has spent nearly $15,000 in legal fees and
$5,000 in transportation to visit his wife in
Albuquerque and to attend hearings in El Paso, Texas.

"Twenty thousand dollars is not a fraudulent
marriage," he said.

For the first two nights of her detainment, Gloria
slept on a concrete slab.

After Udall's office contacted the Regional
Corrections Facility on behalf of the McKelveys,
conditions improved for Gloria, but not for the other
detainees, Bob said.

Gloria was questioned by the facility's warden shortly
after Udall's office contacted the facility, he said.
The warden asked her if she had any aliases — if she
went by any other names.

She said no.

The warden asked her where she was sleeping, and how
long she was forced to sleep on the concrete.

She told him only for a couple nights.

Bob later learned Gloria was given a bunk at the
expense of another detainee, who now sleeps on the
concrete instead.

The struggle continues

On Nov. 9, Bob and the family's attorney went to an El
Paso courthouse for one of Gloria's scheduled
hearings, he said. The judge allowed the couple one
more extension to complete the I-130 form.

The couple regularly travels to El Paso for such
hearings. INS agents transport Gloria to the
courthouse for each appearance. Bob travels
separately, either alone or with friends who are
willing to make the trip. While at the proceedings,
Gloria is not allowed to speak to her husband.

Still, the couple is hopeful.

"We're going through the governmental bureaucracy to
get it approved by Dec. 7," he said. "During the last
hearing, a federal prosecutor told the judge, she's
sleeping in our beds and eating our food, I want her
out of the country today.'"

If the I-130 form is successfully processed, federal
prosecutors will not be able to deport Gloria, Bob

"When we get the I-130 approved, the government has no
choice but to let her out."

For the first time since her initial detainment,
Gloria was allowed to speak to Bob in person after her
Nov. 9 appearance in El Paso, he said.

"That calmed her down."

Usually, that is not the case.

Bob is only allowed an hour for visitation on
Wednesdays and Thursdays in Albuquerque.

A pane of glass separates him from the one he loves
and he has to speak through a telephone.

He has to make each word count.