Delaware County mother reunited with family after immigration nightmare

"Being by yourself is horrible," said Karen Serrano Roberts after being reunited with her family in Philadelphia.

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Thursday, April 6, 2023
Delco mother reunited with family after immigration nightmare
A Delaware County woman is back in the United States after being stuck in Mexico for more than a year.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Delaware County woman is back in the United States after being stuck in Mexico for nearly two years.

Karen Serrano Roberts and her husband Lamar walked through the doors of Terminal A at Philadelphia International Airport and on the other side was their family.

The first hug was with her mother-in-law, then her two sons joined. Moments later, she reunited with her daughters.

These beautiful moments at the airport are the culmination of what this family calls a two-year immigration disaster.

SEE ALSO: Delaware County mother stuck in Mexico with no idea when she can come home

Karen Serrano Roberts has been living in hotels and Airbnbs for a year and a half in a country where she knows few people.

It was family and faith that got them through.

"Through Christ, that's all I can say. Being by yourself is horrible," said Karen.

"My faith that my mom instilled in me, praying and I think I had the best team in the world," added Lamar.

This all started decades ago when Karen was brought to the United States undocumented in 1991 by her parents when she was four years old.

They settled in Delaware County, and in 2012 she married Lamar.

We first told you about her immigration woes in an Action News Investigation last year.

Action News was there as Karen Serrano Roberts reunited with her family in Philadelphia on April 5, 2023.

In 2021, Karen wanted to finally live in the U.S. legally. So she hired an attorney who instructed her to go to the U.S. Consulate in Juárez, Mexico.

It was supposed to be a four-day trip. However, her attorney knew very little about the process and she became stuck.

"We was in the dark for a long time, didn't know who to talk to, where to turn," said Lamar.

So for the next two years, she had to live in hotels and Airbnbs in a country she didn't know.

Lamar and his family worked extra to pay the bills.

But through determination, faith, their Church Bread of Life in Upper Darby and new attorney Thomas Griffin, she made it home Wednesday night.

The family says this never should have happened to someone who spent their entire life in the U.S.

"I feel like we was treated like trash to be recycled," said Lamar.

The family is trying to move forward, ready to celebrate Easter and Mother's Day.

"All the people that donated and helped even the smallest things with the kids, I'm just so grateful," said Karen.