Illegal immigration,Deportation,U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,Mexico,Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,I

This undocumented mom won't be there when her kids get home

February 15, 2017
in Kids

Denver (CNN)Like parents around the country, Jeanette Vizguerra kissed her kids last night and sent them to bed. She didn't know if she'd be there when they got home from school today. Vizguerra is an undocumented immigrant. She was due to check in Wednesday with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Such check-ins are routine. But this one was different. The stay on her deportation order expired last week. It means she'd likely have exhausted all avenues to ward off separation from her American-born children, the youngest of whom is just 6. The detention and deportation last week of another mother, Guadalupe García de Rayos in Arizona, scared Vizguerra's children. They were anxious -- and so was she. "My intuition," she told CNN the night before her hearing, "is it's a bad day." Vizguerra lives in Denver with her husband and three youngest kids -- Luna, 12, Roberto, 10, and Zury, 6. They were all born in the US. Her eldest, Tania, also lives in Denver and has children of her own. She described Vizguerra as the "backbone" of the family. Vizguerra came to the US from Mexico in 1997 with her husband and Tania, who was 6 at the time. Tania said she lives in the US under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which lets undocumented people brought to the country as kids attend school and work. Like thousands of immigrants, the family came in search of a better life. Vizguerra's husband had been kidnapped three times during his work as a bus driver in Mexico City, they said. For the first decade, Vizguerra and her family experienced the regular worries and paranoia of many of America's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. But she and her husband stayed under the radar, working odd jobs and avoiding trouble. "I was leaving work. It was about 10:20 at night. About a block away from my work, I saw a patrol car parked," she recalled. "As soon as I drove by, the patrol turned on its lights and went after me, and I didn't understand why because I wasn't speeding." Vizguerra was charged with not having a license or insurance and for having an expired license plate, but those charges were dismissed, court records show. She also was charged in connection with what her lawyer, Hans Meyer, told CNN was a job application on which she used a made-up -- not stolen -- Social Security Number. She pleaded guilty to "attempted possession of a forged instrument"; an ID theft and other similar charges were dropped, records show. Vizguerra, who counts housekeeper, janitor and house painter among the jobs she's held, spent the next three-and-a-half years fighting and appealing various orders to deport her from the US. As she pressed her own case, she also took on the mantle of immigrants' rights activist, fighting for...

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