Jose Chua Lopez is in desperate need of a heart and liver transplant. Although he secured an appointment at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic, the 20-year-old could be forced to cancel. As a citizen of Mexico, Lopez requires a travel visa to enter the United States. On Tuesday, U.S. officials denied his application for the second time.
As his father is a permanent resident, Lopez maintained a U.S. visa for the first 15 years of his life. However, as he could not afford to renew, the visa expired in 2000.
Jose Chua Lopez was born with a heart defect that impairs his circulation. As a result, he has undergone numerous surgeries and medical procedures.
— janet alexander (@justjanit) March 27, 2015
Although the treatments have helped, Lopez’s condition worsened in recent years. As reported by Washington Post, the young man has exhausted all available treatment in Mexico. Lopez’s doctor, Ernesto Duarte Tagles, confirmed that a heart-liver transplant is the “only treatment option” left.
— Salvador Gonzalez (@sagproduccione1) March 27, 2015
The Mayo Clinic is willing and able to perform the procedure. However, Jose Chua Lopez cannot travel to the United States without a valid visa.
As required by federal law, Lopez included the necessary documentation with his visa application. Despite his best efforts, his application was denied by the U.S. State Department on two separate occasions.
Lopez is unsure why the visa was denied, as the State Department did not provide an explanation. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said her “team is looking into it.”
As reported by CBS News, Kevin Forbes, with the Consejo de Latinos Unidos, helped arrange Jose Chua Lopez’s treatment. Although he has “dealt with around two dozen similar international cases,” this is the first time one of his clients was denied a visa.
Jose Chua Lopez, estou na torcida por você.) “EE.UU. niega visado a joven que necesita trasplantes urgentes teleSUR” http://t.co/xy2vMYWoei
— águeda couto (Yuma) (@aguedacouto) March 27, 2015
Lopez and his mother are concerned that the application was denied for financial reasons. Although they have raised $18,000, the transplant will cost an estimated $2 million.
Indeed, the U.S. State Department has the power to deny a travel visa if the applicant does not have the means to financially support themselves while in the United States. However, Lopez could qualify for a humanitarian visa, which has fewer restrictions.
Forbes said he is currently helping the Lopez family file an application for a humanitarian visa. He also contacted the State Department about the two prior denials.
Unfortunately, it is a complicated and lengthy process, and Jose Chua Lopez’s doctor said his condition could “deteriorate at any moment.”
[image via Shutterstock]