MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota mother of three is in need of a life-saving surgery. Doctors told Socorro Neri Vergara she had less than a year to live. That was two years ago, and every day since she wonders if she will see another day.

She goes to kidney dialysis weekly, but she needs a kidney transplant so her other organs don’t shut down.  Vergara is an undocumented immigrant. She told WCCO’s Jennifer Mayerle facing health care challenges is an obstacle she didn’t think about when she left Mexico in search of a better life.

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“This is my family,” Vergara said.

Vergara has built a life in St. Paul. She married Franciso Bautista in 2000, two years after she left Mexico to join him in the United States.

“We are a very great family,” Bautista said.

The couple has three kids. Michelle is the oldest.

“My mom is a great mom. She helps us with everything we need,” Michelle Bautista said.

The family fears she may not be with them much longer. Two years ago, Vergara was diagnosed with kidney failure.

“If she don’t have a kidney transplant, she going to die,” Francisco Bautista said.

She has been on dialysis, but that’s where her medical coverage ends.

“Please help me. I need for my kids,” Vergara said.

Vergara is an undocumented immigrant. And because of her status, she qualifies only for Emergency Medical Assistance. The insurance is for Non-citizen applicants and covers emergencies and kidney dialysis, but not a transplant.

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“The doctor he told us he cannot help us because we are illegal,” Francisco Bautista said.

It’s a harsh reality for a family with three kids born legally in the United States. A reality the adults didn’t consider when they left Mexico in search of a better life.

“Because she wasn’t born here and she came illegally. That’s the reason why she can’t get it. I think it’s not fair just because she’s an immigrant,” Michelle Bautista said.

“We need a miracle. That’s what we need,” brother Adolfo Vergara said.

Socorro has three siblings living in Minnesota, all willing to donate a kidney if they’re a match.

That is not enough.  A small percentage of “non-U.S. citizens” will be put on the organ transplant list each year. It’s up to the individual transplant center to decide who will be listed.

Vergara was told her insurance does not cover “Evaluation … for either a live or deceased donor kidney transplant.” And “In the future if you have Medical Assistance Coverage, we would be able to assist you.”

That won’t happen given her immigration status.

“Basically we don’t have any options. That’s the thing. We are stuck right in the middle, we can’t move forward, we can move back,” Adolfo Vergara said.

Her kids can’t bear the thought of losing their mom.

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“I don’t want her to leave just yet. I still need her. Me and my brothers still need her,” Michelle Bautista said.