Poconos Coal

Man allowed to return to US from Mexico to bury son

Man allowed back into US to bury his son

SHENANDOAH, Pa. - A father was granted a last-minute humanitarian parole to return to the U.S. from Mexico so he can bury a son who died in a fire last week.

Damien Lopez, 10, and three others were killed when their home went up in flames in Shenandoah last Tuesday.

Damien's father, Fidel Lopez, lives in Mexico and almost wasn't allowed to get back to the U.S. to bury his son.

He arrived in Philadelphia Sunday night after being cleared at the last minute to temporarily come back to the U.S.

Originally, he was denied a visa to return, which he said was devastating

"They're very rare, and they aren't issued as frequently," said immigration lawyer Patricia Velasco. "It's not a type of relief; it's just, again, temporary entry into the United States based on these circumstances."

Damien, along with his aunt and two other young boys, died in a row home fire last Tuesday in Shenandoah.

"It's gonna bother me for the rest of my life," Lopez said, who was an illegal immigrant from Mexico who voluntarily left the U.S. three years ago.

He had been working to get his green card and spoke to Damien on the phone regularly.

"I figure when he was more big I could explain the whole thing, but now it's too late," said Lopez.

But Lopez vows to keep working toward his green card.

"Right now, I'm not stopping. I'm doing all my paperwork because I have my other kids, and I don't want nothing happening again."

A memorial service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday. A private burial is set for Tuesday.


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