NEW YORK (WABC) -- A Brooklyn family is dealing with a heartbreaking situation.
A mother with two young children is battling advanced breast cancer.
But her husband is now stuck in Mexico, applying for U.S. citizenship but not able to get back.
"It's been kind of upsetting and disappointing and I guess a little stressful," said their son Christian Barragan. He is 11 and his brother Daniel is 8, and they don't when they'll ever see their father again. They worry about him and their mom.
"My mom is sick, she can't really do stuff that my dad used to do, and now he's gone so he can't really do stuff," said Daniel.
Their mom is sick with Stage 4 breast cancer, but it is their father they worry about most right now.
Benjamin Barragan is from Mexico and he went back there on March 7 to fill out paperwork for a green card.
His wife Maria is from Guatemala but is an American citizen.
Still, he was denied the green card and isn't even allowed to re-apply for ten years.
"We're all alone here now," she said through a translator. "He was the breadwinner for the family. We have nothing and my children don't understand why their father can't come back."
"Without my father, I kind of have to take his job," said Christian. "Part of the role of this house is to take care of our family. If one of us is sick we take care of them. We always take care of each other but since he's now gone I have to do it."
The problem is that Barragan was caught back in 1994 trying to cross the border illegally. Because of that, the US government is denying him a green card.
Maria can't go down and live in Mexico because she's in the middle of chemotherapy, and as she points out, she is an American citizen.
"She's worried, all this past week she's not resting at all, she's making calls, she's going to lawyers, doing all these things just for him," said Christian.
* More Brooklyn news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Legal fight leaves man stuck in Mexico while wife battles breast cancer in Brooklyn
More TOP STORIES News