Guatemalan family in EL contends with immigration confusion

Dec 1, 2014

Oscar Castaneda hopes his family can stay in Michigan, but he may be required to return to his native Guatemala.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

A family who has spent the last 15 years putting down roots in East Lansing is hoping to persuade U.S. authorities not to order them back to Central America. Oscar Castaneda is a native of Guatemala. He traces his predicament to likely bureaucratic errors dating back to the mid 1990's.

Castaneda came to the United States in 1993 on a Fulbright Scholarship. He began his studies in New York State.

Confusion began a couple years later. Somehow, possibly on a visit to Guatemala, his visa was renewed minus one key requirement of Fulbright Scholars: it eliminated the obligation to return home to do two years of community service work.

Now, after more than two decades of legal employment, home ownership, taxpaying and volunteer soccer coaching, with a wife and two daughters who’ve known little besides East Lansing, immigration officials say Castaneda needs to return to Guatemala to perform his decades-delayed service work. His story was recently written up by the Lansing State Journal’s Matthew Miller.

Current State talks with Oscar Castaneda about his story.