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Friday, August 03, 2018

'It’s an absolute disgrace': tears and anger as wife of US marine deported to Mexico | World news | The Guardian

Alejandra Juarez walks with her two daughters and her husband to the departure gates at Orlando airport. After 20 years in the United States, she no longer has family or friends in Mexico.

"The 16-year-old American daughter of a US marine held back tears as long as she could before her family was split in two.

Her mother, Alejandra Juarez, was finally leaving for Mexico, rather than be sent off in handcuffs, after exhausting all options to stop her deportation.

“My mom is a good person. She’s not a criminal,” Pamela said, cursing at the immigration agency before her mother checked in on Friday for her flight from Orlando international airport.

Alejandra and Temo Juarez, a naturalized citizen who runs a roofing business, quietly raised Pamela and their nine-year-old daughter, Estela, in the central Florida town of Davenport until a 2013 traffic stop exposed her legal status.

Afterward, she regularly checked in with US Immigration and Customs officials, which typically went after higher-priority targets like people with criminal records.

Temo didn’t figure his vote for Donald Trump would affect them personally. That was before the enforcement of Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy toward illegal immigration.

Now, the Juarez family will be divided in two: Estela will join her mother in Mexico after she gets settled, while Temo cares for Pamela and pays the bills.

Alejandra, 39, petitioned to become a citizen in 2001 but was rejected because she was accused of making a false statement at the border when she sought asylum in 1998, attorney Richard Maney said. He said she was asked about her citizenship and told authorities she had been a student in Memphis, Tennessee for a short time, so border officials apparently thought she was falsely claiming to be an American citizen.

“This is not going to be the last case like this,” Maney said. “This is potentially the first of many. There are many military spouses in the same situation.”

US congressman Darren Soto, a Florida Democrat, who couldn’t get the votes in Congress for legislation to allow Juarez to remain, called her situation disgraceful.

“We’re not going to give up,” he told her with a hug at the airport..."

'It’s an absolute disgrace': tears and anger as wife of US marine deported to Mexico | World news | The Guardian

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