KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eight months later, the family of Leticia Stegall says there is little progress in getting her home. The co-owner of The Blue Line Hockey Bar in KC’s River Market was deported at the end of February outside her family home. Letty’s daughter Jennifer Uscanga says it’s hard to believe it’s almost a year since her mother was deported, and hopes to bring her back before she misses too many milestones. Until then, it’s another business day at the sports bar, but for Steve Stegall, its another away from his wife.
“We want her back as fast as we possibly can,” Stegall said. “It’s not in our hands, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Leticia Stegall was one of 20 people deported last winter in an ICE sweep through the metro. In 2012, she was convicted of driving under the influence and spent a month in a Kansas jail.
“Might be three years, might be four years, and we’re just holding on tight fighting every day trying to speed this up,” Steve Stegall said.
Stegall filed a legal petition to bring his wife home, but he says it’s taking longer than expected. He says the 1-130 Petition for an Alien Relative is four steps long, and it usually takes about six months for each step. He completed the first one after she was sent home, and has been waiting eight months for the first response. Until then, Letty is helping manage the bar remotely from Mexico.
“She watches the cameras from Mexico, and still runs this place,” Stegall said. “She does the scheduling, and still keeps everyone in line down there.”
The distance is hitting her daughter, 17-year-old Jennifer Uscanga, the hardest. She’s living with her stepfather, and is a senior in high school. Uscanga says she’s studying to become a nurse.
“I’m living my life for myself, and for her,” Uscanga said. “This is going to be going on forever, and it’s going to take years, and I can’t let it destroy my future, because I know if I do it will hurt my mom more.”
Uscanga says she visited her mom in Mexico over the summer, but it was hard to come home knowing her mother couldn’t come home with her.
Uscanga was born in the United States, which makes her a legal citizen. She says she’s concerned about President Trump’s comments about ending birthright citizenship. The 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution says all persons born in the U.S. are citizens of the county. Which means children of illegal immigrants born in the United States are citizens of the country through birth. However President Trump has hinted at challenging this through executive order.
“To know that is just frustrating,” Uscanga said.
She says her mother left Mexico for a better life, free of violence and poverty. Uscanga says her mother had her years after she came to the United States.
“So I could be born into a life where I could be successful and make something out of myself,” Uscanga said.
Uscanga says her mom inspires her to reach her goals, and hopes she can come back to Kansas City to see it happen.
“It makes me hurt because she`s not here,” Uscanga said. “I feel more pain for her, because I see it in her when I talk about it – how sad she gets knowing that she won`t be here for it.”
Uscanga is planning to see her mother over Christmas break, and Steve Stegall will see Letty for the first time later this month when the Chiefs play in Mexico City.