ICE Pursues Deportation of Zero Tolerance Grandmother Despite Judge Sabraw’s Order to Reunify

August 10, 2018

ICE threatens to re-detain her released 12 year old child for reunification and deportation

AUSTIN — Late Wednesday night, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) violated a judge’s order when they attempted to deport Grandma Rosy,* who was separated from her granddaughter in May at the border under the zero tolerance policy. She has been detained for three months, separated from her 12-year-old granddaughter Cindy,* who is currently living in Texas with her grandmother’s sister who she was released to from ORR custody.

Grandma Rosy has raised Cindy since she was two years old when her mother disappeared.  She has legal custody of Cindy, as ordered by a judge in El Salvador. Rosy remains detained in violation of the July 26 deadline for reunification in U.S. District Court Judge Dana M. Sabraw’s court order. There are hundreds of parents and guardians like Rosy still detained, who have legal custody of their minor family members.

“On Tuesday night my client was told by ICE that, not only that she would be deported this week, but that they would actually detain her already released child in Houston. She was told she would be deported alongside her minor child,” said Lizbeth Mateo, attorney for the family. “ICE knows my client is the guardian to Cindy, and therefore should have been reunified under the Judge’s order. Now, instead of fixing their mistake, ICE intends to cover it up by deporting both mother and child to a country where they will be persecuted.”

Hours after Judge Sabraw ordered an extension of the freeze on deportations for separated families, ICE tried to deport Grandma Rosy. “Instead of informing her of her deportation at 8pm as ICE typically does at the Laredo Processing Center, they waited until nearly midnight when they knew Rosy would no longer be able to call her attorney” said Claudia Muñoz, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership. “She was put on a plane early Thursday morning and was only taken off after congressional intervention. We don’t know how many days she has left.”

Rosy’s attorney intends to file for a Temporary Restraining Order in California, as well as a habeas petition calling for Rosy’s immediate reunification with her minor child, “She has been her granddaughter’s sole caretaker since she was two years old, and has legal custody of the child. This makes her a parent in the eyes of the law, and thus a class member of Ms. L. v ICE.”

*Names changed to protect identity

                                                           # # #

Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works for a more just society where prison profiteering, mass incarceration, deportation, and criminalization are things of the past. Follow us @Grassroots_News.

Contact: 

Mohammad media@mateolaw.com, 520-243-9777
Bethany Carson, bcarson@grassrootsleadership.org, 512-499-8111