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David Hidalgo: The Inspiring Sequel

In December, “06880” posted a story about David Hidalgo.

The 31-year-old Costa Rican man came to the US in search of the American dream.

He works for himself. He’s a carpenter, handyman, home improvement guy extraordinaire. Most of his clients live in Westport. They adore his workmanship, care, willingness to tackle any project; his problem-solving, humility, politeness, and his ear-to-ear smile.

David and Haiying Hidalgo, with their children at home this winter …

He and his wife Haiying have 2 children. David is involved in his son’s Boy Scouts and basketball team, and the Bridgeport community where they live.

Now he faced months of difficult, painful treatment — with no idea when he could return to work. He had no disability insurance.

Before his diagnosis, David was in the process of getting his green card. But because of a law that went into effect in October, if he applied for any form of state or federal financial aid, his green card would be denied.

Westporters, and many others, stepped up to help. Sally Wanamaker put plans to move abroad on hold, and helped raise much of the funds David and his family needed.

David’s health has improved. He’s gotten back both his energy and his hair. After 4 months at Yale New Haven Hospital — on his 32nd birthday — he was pronounced free of leukemia. He is still on heavy oral medication, but life is looking up.

… and at the beach yesterday.

It looked even better on Thursday.

That’s when Sally told him his green card had come through.

She credits Jason Abrams, a Westport resident and New York immigration lawyer — usually for corporate clients — for much of the success.

“He’s got 5 young kids,” she says. “But he saw the story on ‘06880,’ and stepped up as a pro bono attorney. He was so calm, so rational, so giving of his time.”

She also cites Senator Richard Blumenthal. “He got on board after a News12 story. He was fantastic. He said, ‘David Hidalgo is exactly the kind of person we want in this country.'”

However, after President Trump announced a 60-day suspension of all green cards, it looked like David was out of luck. But Blumenthal delivered the good news.

“Everyone is so thrilled,” Sally says. “David just keeps asking, ‘When can I go back to work?'”

It should be soon. And when he does — feeling healthy and good — he’ll also feel secure. Thanks to Sally Wanamaker, Jason Abrams, Senator Blumenthal and many others who helped, he’s got his green card in his wallet.

(Hat tip: Frank Rosen)

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