US denies visa to young man for transplant

Updated: 2015-03-27 07:37

By Associated Press in Hermosillo(China Daily)

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Family and friends raised thousands of dollars to send Jose Chua Lopez to the prestigious Mayo Clinic for an urgently needed heart and liver transplant.

But the 20-year-old Mexican born with a heart defect has twice been turned down for a US visa, and relatives and his doctor say his life is in danger.

"They denied me the visa and my world has fallen down," Chua said on Wednesday. "This needs to be fixed quickly."

His mother, Myra Lopez Martinez, said Chua has an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in 10 days, but his visa application was rejected a second time by the US State Department on Tuesday.

The State Department declined to comment specifically on the case, citing confidentiality rules.

"Our team is looking into it," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "So we'll see if there's more information they can provide."

Chua, whose father is a resident of the US state of Arizona, had a US visa until he was 15. But when it expired, his family didn't renew it because they didn't have money to pay for more trips.

US-based Consejo de Latinos Unidos, which helps uninsured people secure medical care, stepped in to try to get Chua to the Mayo Clinic.

The organization's director, Kevin Forbes, said the case was mishandled at the US consulate in the northern city of Hermosillo, where Chua lives.

He said that consulate officials processed an application for a tourist visa when they should have told Chua to apply for a humanitarian visa, and that they then failed for weeks to respond to queries about his status.

"We have dealt with around two dozen similar international cases," Forbes said. "They have never denied us a visa. It's the first time this has happened."

Forbes said the family will file a visa application on humanitarian grounds shortly and he hoped the problem will be resolved in two or three days.

He called the situation an "absolute abomination".

(China Daily 03/27/2015 page12)