Denied Visa, Woman in DR Struggles to Visit Injured Husband

Marilia Batista and her husband Alberto Rodríguez, who is over 1,500 miles away from her in New York, is clinging to life, after being shot during a robbery. Her application for a visa to visit him was denied. (Photo via El Diario-La Prensa)

Marilia Batista’s husband Alberto Rodríguez, who is over 1,500 miles away from her in New York, is clinging to life after being shot during a robbery. Her application for a visa to visit him was denied but she continues desperately to try to obtain one. (Photo via El Diario-La Prensa)

Luis Alberto Rodríguez, a 34-year-old Dominican immigrant, is clinging to life at a Brooklyn hospital after having fallen victim to an armed robbery.

His wife, Marilia Bautista, is moving heaven and earth trying to obtain humanitarian parole which would allow her to come from the Dominican Republic to care for Rodríguez in this grave situation. The couple has been married for three years.

The incident occurred on June 25 when Rodríguez was standing in the lobby of 1900 Albemarle Road in Brooklyn. According to the police, the assailant opened the door, pointed a gun at Rodríguez and another person, and demanded money. After taking $300 and a cell phone, the attacker shot Rodríguez in the abdomen and fled the scene. No arrests have been made and the case remains under investigation.

The gunshot that pierced Rodríguez went through his bladder and intestines. He is now in critical condition at Kings County Hospital.

“Since the operation, they’ve kept his body open to monitor his organs because the infection was very serious and they haven’t been able to fully get rid of it,” said Bautista. “He’s not talking because they keep him sedated nearly all the time to prevent him from moving and damaging the wound,” she explained.

Rodríguez was working in a cousin’s restaurant and has been living legally in the U.S. for a decade. He took the citizenship test on July 9 in order to apply for a visa for his wife so she could join him more quickly.

Dr. Valery Roudnisky of Kings County Hospital sent a letter to the U.S. Consulate in Santo Domingo in which she verified that Rodríguez is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

“We’re asking you to have compassion for this family, and to let Bautista enter the United States to be with her husband,” wrote Roudnisky.

Bautista went to the U.S. Consulate in the Dominican Republic with a letter from the hospital, a letter from the Dominican Consulate in New York, and documents that prove she won’t be a burden on the social welfare system. However, her visa was denied based on the claim that she could remain in the country.

“I only want to be with my husband during these very hard times. I’ll sign any document they ask me to in order to guarantee that I return to my country,” said Bautista, who works at the Ministry of Culture in the Dominican Republic.

Mariela Peña, Rodríguez’s sister, is the only family member he has in New York. Although she was by his side the entire time for the first 15 days of his hospital stay, her job only allows her to see him for a short time at night.

Félix Antonio Martínez, the consul general of the Dominican Republic in New York, said his office sent a visa petition for Bautista to William Weissman, the U.S. Consul General on the island, “even though we know it’s the decision of the American authorities.”

When asked about the matter, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat promised to help Bautista in the process if they communicate with his office.

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