Leslie Hernandez was spared deportation on humanitarian grounds.
10 January 2012
Mother allowed to stay in US while deportation case reviewed
A 25 year old Mexican woman who has been living in Detroit, Michigan since she was 11 has been granted a temporary stay of deportation and been allowed to return home while her case is reviewed.
Leslie Hernandez had been in custody at the St. Clair County Jail since the 24th of October but is now due to be released after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials granted her the stay on humanitarian grounds.
Ms Hernandez, who is originally from Mexico City, has three children aged 10, 5 and 3, one of whom is reportedly disabled and another ill. While the children, who were born in America and therefore do not require a US visa, the father is also in ICE custody and faces deportation.
Ms Hernandez's lawyer George P Mann explained that Ms Hernandez was originally arrested along with her mother in 1997 and charged with being in the country illegally. The family's lawyer claimed at the resultant hearing that Ms Hernandez had already returned to Mexico and therefore an order of deportation was automatically entered as a no-show.
Despite the confusion, a judge who heard the case in November 2011 ruled that proper procedure had been followed and declined to overturn the deportation order. Mann immediately filed an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals but deportees are not usually allowed to stay in the country while waiting for the case to be heard.
While Ms Hernandez was in custody and her children remained in the care of friends, her supporters contacted immigrant advocacy group One Michigan on her behalf. The group began a petition which eventually gathered more than 6,000 signatures and also contacted Michigan's congressional delegation.
US Representative Gary Peters then contacted the US Immigration Services; he said "I'm very concerned about immigration enforcement policies that break up families, so my office worked to secure a review of her case".
An ICE spokesman confirmed that "ICE has administratively halted this removal pending further review" with Ms Hernandez's lawyer, George P Penn stating that "she should be able to present her case now as an adult".
The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.