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‘I can’t wait just to have her back home:’ After deportation, family expects to be reunited soon

<i>KCTV</i><br/>For nearly four years
For nearly four years

By Emily Rittman

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    KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV) — For nearly four years, Leticia “Letty” Stegall has waited for approval to return to Kansas City after she was deported to Mexico.

Family, friends, and customers of The Blue Line hockey bar rallied in 2018 for Letty and wrote letters asking officials to allow her to re-enter the U.S. This year, her husband is counting down the days until she returns.

Steve Stegall said their family got “the best news ever” when his wife’s application to return to was approved. Since 2018, they’ve depended on FaceTime calls to keep their separated family as connected as they can be while living in two different countries.

When KCTV5 News spoke to Steve and Letty Stegall in 2019, he was already planning what they would do first when she came back. “We are going to have the biggest party you’ve ever seen,” he said at the time.

Steve Stegall said Letty had a legal work permit and spent years trying to meet requirements to gain full citizenship after entering the U.S. unlawfully more than 20 years ago. Before she could, she was deported in 2018. Since then, she and her family have worked to meet requirements to get approval to return to the U.S.

“It’s a long, drawn-out process,” Steve Stegall said. “It takes lots of money, lots of patience, and you really got to be headstrong.”

They are one step closer to being reunited.

“The waiver has been approved and she should be home by Christmas,” Steve Stegall said. “Just seeing everybody again that she hasn’t seen in four years. I can’t explain how thrilling it’s going to be.”

Letty Stegall, who spoke to KCTV5 News via FaceTime, said she cannot wait to hug her father-in-law who she hasn’t seen in nearly four years. She is also ready to return to The Blue Line hockey bar to continue running their business with everyone she has missed.

“My husband, my daughter, my mother-in-law, the regulars, the cooks, the servers,” Letty Stegall said. “It’s the best Christmas present.”

Steve Stegall said the family was told that after a waiver is approved it could take between 30 to 60 days before Letty Stegall can return to the U.S.

“Just getting all of our friends who haven’t seen her, who love her to death,” Steve Stegall said. “Everybody getting down here and just giving her a big hug and telling her how much she’s loved. I just can’t wait for that day to come.”

He believes it is possible she could be home by Thanksgiving.

“Fingers crossed but we’re thinking she’ll be back by Christmas.”

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