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Mom dying of cancer hopes for son's visit from Mexico

Marta Perez Martinez has one wish: She wants to see her son before she dies.

Her son, in tearful calls to relatives, echoes that wish: "Can I see mamá?"

Martinez, 31, of Wyandanch, has an aggressive form of colon cancer. She is in Stony Brook University Medical Center, barely able to speak.

Her son Irvin, 13, is in a mountainous Mexican village. He hasn't seen his mother since she left home five years ago.

"That boy was a great student, but he's too distracted by worry now," said Marta's cousin Rodolfo Diaz Martinez, of Farmingdale.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) has asked the Department of Homeland Security to grant Irvin a special humanitarian visa to see his mother. "This a basic matter of humanity," Israel said Friday. "It's a matter of days or even hours."

A spokesman for the Mexican consulate in New York said his government has offered a passport to Irvin.

Marta is the second of seven children. Five years ago, she paid $2,000 to immigrant smugglers who took her across the Texas-Mexico border and then to Long Island, her brother and cousin said.

"My sister came here because she had no money for her son's books and clothes," said younger brother Jesus, who also emigrated.

Marta worked for a company that makes paper products. On a Wyandanch street, she met Juan Martinez, an immigrant from the same village.

"She has such a strong character that you're impressed right away," Juan said. They married and in 2008 they had a daughter, Damaris.

During a checkup just over a year ago, doctors found that Marta had cancer.

Marta's brother knows that some may have no sympathy for anyone who entered the country illegally. "My sister didn't come here to be sick and be a burden on a hospital," Jesus said. "She came here to be productive and make a better life for her boy."

Her relatives say they don't want handouts - just a two-week visa for Irvin.

"Yes, she made a mistake by coming here without permission," Israel said. "But will denying her deathbed request really be justice?"

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