RACE, RELIGION + SOCIAL JUSTICE

Utah local reunited with family after six months stuck in Mexico

Feb 4, 2024, 8:25 AM | Updated: Feb 5, 2024, 11:39 am

Maleny Heiner standing next to her husband with family and friends in the background while being in...

Maleny Heiner, who was held in Mexico since August, standing next to her husband with family and friends in the background while being interviewed by KSL TV. (Olivia Calvert, KSL NewsRadio)

(Olivia Calvert, KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — Friends and family anxiously crowded the International Arrivals gate at Salt Lake City International Airport Saturday night, stirring passersby to wonder who was so special to warrant such a welcome.

This group had only been waiting for a couple of hours at the airport. But the wait leading up to this moment at the airport was a far longer and more stressful one.

Maleny Heiner is a Utah local who was on the path to United States citizenship when she was abruptly held in Mexico, her place of birth, indefinitely.

This unexpected turn took her from Taylor, her husband of five years, whose chronic illness made it exceptionally distressing for her to be away.

Heiner has been in Mexico since August, working furiously to find a way home.

But Heiner was not alone in this quest.

Alongside friends, family, and lawyers, immigration reform groups such as FWD.us and social media platforms, Utah for All Immigrants and the Black Menaces helped garner the attention of those in positions to help.

Rep. Burgess Owens and Sen. Mitt Romney were also involved in the process.

A humanitarian parole visa was finally granted to Heiner and she was able to come home.

The visa gives Heiner one year to work on her next steps toward residency and citizenship.

Visa in hand, but anxiety remained

Heiner’s anxieties about further derailments did not end until she walked out of the airport with her loved ones.

Cheers filled the otherwise quiet airport as she finally walked through the doors and into the arms of her husband.

“I am still anxious. Like we need to go before they change their minds,” Heiner laughed.

“I feel like it hasn’t been a reality for me to be home for so long that I was afraid that anything would prevent me from coming back.”

Heiner’s advice to other immigrants seeking permanent residency in the United States is to stay informed, and double-check all options because “little mistakes can happen and really have a big impact.”

Related: Clerical error has BYU grad stuck in Mexico

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Race, Religion + Social Justice

Demonstrators in support of trans rights gathered outside the Utah Capitol in early 2024. (Aimee Co...

Aimee Cobabe

High court decision may impact transgender-related medical treatment for Utah minors

The Supreme Court will hear a Tennessee case arguing that a ban on all medical treatments prescribed to help minors transition is unconstitutional.

19 hours ago

Derrick Porter debuts as "Music & the Spoken Word" narrator Sunday, June 23. (The Church of Jesus C...

Emma Keddington

New narrator Derrick Porter debuts in his first ‘Music & the Spoken Word’ program

Derrick Porter replaces Lloyd Newell, who narrated "Music & the Spoken Word" for 34 years. He says he is humbled to take his place.

2 days ago

Juneteenth Utah...

Emma Keddington

Juneteenth: the past, the present and the future

Juneteenth is "a celebration of freedom, family and the joy of being alive," said museum specialist Kelly Navies.

6 days ago

People outside the Supreme Court, supporting the DACA program. A Utah immigration attorney said Bid...

Aimee Cobabe and Emma Keddington

Utah immigration attorney breaks down Biden’s executive action aimed to help immigrants

Local immigration attorney Carlos Trujillo said these changes will impact thousands of people here in Utah.

7 days ago

Heidi Thomas, left, and Meggane Vasquez, right, look at each other during the Rainbow March and Ral...

Mariah Maynes

Deer Valley to host its first Pride event, Mountain Pride Day on June 30

Deer Valley announced that it will host its first Pride festival on June 30.

7 days ago

Lloyd D. Newell, the announcer and writer of the weekly Music & the Spoken Word broadcast for the p...

Emma Keddington

WATCH: Lloyd Newell reflects on time as voice for “Music & the Spoken Word”

SALT LAKE CITY — Since 1929, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has broadcasted “Music & the Spoken Word.”  Sunday, June 16, marked the end of an era for Lloyd Newell, who has been the voice of the weekly program for 34 years. Newell spoke to Inside Source’s Boyd Matheson on Sunday about […]

9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Utah local reunited with family after six months stuck in Mexico