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Nurse who was deported last year, back legally in time for Christmas

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SAN FRANCISCO – Better than any gift wrapped with a bow, Maria Mendoza Sanchez believes the best present this holiday season is being home with her children.

"There were many nights I couldn't sleep. There were many days I was ready to give up," Sanchez said.

"I made sure I was the first to get a hug!" said one her daughters.

"We are very grateful that she will be spending Christmas with us!" said another daughter.

Sanchez came to the U.S. from Mexico illegally in the mid-1990s, went to college and has worked at a hospital as an oncology nurse - up until she was deported in 2017, alongside her husband, forcing her to leave her four children and job behind.

"I am very happy to be here. I’m very happy to be back. This is really a dream that I never expected was going to come true," Sanchez said.

More than a year later, U.S. immigration officials approved a waiver allowing her to receive an H1B visa to return to the United States legally, and just in time for Christmas.

"I don't know what I’m going to be doing but I know I am going to be with them and that's going to be the best Christmas ever," Sanchez said.