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Judge Rules Deported Mother and Daughter Must Return to the United States

Recently, two Guatemalan nationals, 34-year-old Ana and her 12-year-old daughter, were deported from the United States. According to reports, they were awoken very early in the morning and relocated from their temporary holding in Berks County Residential Center to an airplane bound for Guatemala. However, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered immigration officials to intercept the two women when they reach Guatemala City and to return them to the United States as soon as possible.

Ana and her daughter’s story is a unique one in the immigration world, where the vast majority of the time deported foreign nationals are not returned to the United States. The two women present a special case because Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) deported them without informing the court of their intent to do so. When the Third Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Theodore A. McKee learned of the deportation, he immediately ordered the return of the two women.

The Family’s Immigration Case

Attorney Bridget Cambria is representing the family in their immigration proceedings. She had previously filed a motion asking the court to block Ana’s deportation. The U.S. attorney’s office, the body that represents the government in immigration proceedings, stated that ICE did not plan to deport the mother and daughter, and the court affirms that had it been made aware of ICE’s true intentions, the court would have issued an order preemptively blocking the deportation.

Attorney Cambria accuses ICE of denying the mother and daughter their due process rights. According to the attorney, the family has immigration relief available to them because they are victims of domestic abuse in their home country.

The Case’s Effect on Immigration Moving Forward

It is anticipated (and hoped for) that the Chief Judge’s order returning the deported women will set a precedent to be followed in future deportation cases involving families in general and battered women and children in particular. Foreign nationals and immigration advocacy groups have been rallying to urge President Obama to treat deportation cases involving families, children, and pregnant women differently than the administration treats cases involving criminals or those who pose a threat to the nation’s security. Since many families who are in deportation proceedings have at least one if not more U.S. citizen members, the groups are loudly criticizing the President for breaking up American families. The President maintains that it is and will continue to be his administration’s policy to only deport dangerous criminals.

Unfortunately, the President seems to be out of touch with how his administration is actually treating foreign nationals. According to a recent Human Rights Watch report, between 2007 and 2012 the President’s administration deported more than 250,000 undocumented foreign nationals who have U.S. citizen relatives. These deportees had been charged with low-level drug possession crimes, which in many cases would have only amounted to a short jail sentence or a small fine if committed by a U.S. citizen.

The Rant

We at loudly applaud the action taken by the Chief Judge to return Ana and her daughter to the United States. This case should serve as further impetus for Congress to finally pass common sense immigration reform that does not punish battered women and children who come to the U.S. seeking refuge. Continue to check back with the blog for the most up to date immigration news.

Additional Blog Posts

The Possible Impact of Sequestration for Employers and Immigrant Workers, ImmigRantings, April 22, 2013
More States Expected to Exert Control Regarding Illegal Immigration Problems, ImmigRantings, August 3, 2013