West Rallies Behind Widow Caring for Disabled Daughter

By: Matt Howerton Email
By: Matt Howerton Email

WEST (January 6, 2014) The widow of a West explosion victim is getting a helping hand as she currently battles to become a permanent U.S. resident in order to aid her daughter who is disabled.

In November KWTX introduced you to Sandra Villalobos Saldivar, 33, who came to West with her husband Mariano Saldivar, 57, and their 7-year-old daughter Mariana five years ago.

They had a vision to live together as a family, and to create a better future for their daughter.

However, that vision was destroyed when the West Fertilizer Co. plant exploded in April of this year.

Saldivar and her husband both lived in the apartment complex that was leveled during the explosion, he was inside when the blast occurred and died along with 14 others.

The death of Saldivar’s husband has placed both her and her daughter in an unfortunate limbo.

Saldivar’s daughter Mariana has spina bifida.

She is paralyzed from the waist down, has no control of her bladder or bowel movements, and has had more than ten surgeries.

In 2005, Saldivar immigrated to the U.S. with smugglers.

She was encouraged to petition for a green card after Mariana was born in Fort Stockton.

The severity of Mariana’s disability requires her to rely on Saldivar heavily.

If Saldivar was deported, her daughter would lose her primary caretaker.

Saldivar petitioned for a green card; her husband was her sponsor.

The petition was approved and immigrant visas were offered to her earlier this year.

But when Saldivar’s husband died, her approved green card petition was automatically revoked, according to her lawyer Karen Crawford. Yet, Crawford says a member of Saldivar’s family is now sponsoring her.

While living with relatives in West, Saldivar has completed an adjustment of status application, which would ultimately re-process her green card petition with updated sponsor information.

But until all is processed, stamped, and approved, Saldivar goes day-to-day with no home of her own, no job, and no hope.

However the community of West wasn’t going to let that happen.

Since November of 2013, the West Long Term Recovery Center, area residents and churches have rallied behind Saldivar and her daughter to get them a home of their own.

They’ve also provided Saldivar with food, furniture, and free rent for 3 months. Mariana was even given a Christmas of her own.

"I never thought we would get all the help we've received. But now, I know I can make it," Saldivar said.

Saldivar’s green card has still yet to be delivered to her hands.

But she says she is keeping the faith, knowing that an angel is watching over her.

"I feel my husband is guiding me--helping me with all the things we need to do."


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