USA Today Report: Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Essential Workers are Still Facing Deportation

According to a report from USA Today, some essential workers are at risk of being deported from the United States. The journalists highlight the distressing and unjust story of a 48-year-old California mother of four who, after repeatedly receiving humanitarian relief, is suddenly set to be deported to Mexico. Despite living in the country for more than two decades and serving as an essential worker during COVID-19, authorities have denied her application for a stay of removal.

An Essential Worker With Three American Children is Being Deported

The USA Today story focuses on a woman identified only as ‘Ms. Lopez’ in the article. A mother of four, she lives and works in Ventura County, California. One of her children is a DACA recipient and the other three are U.S. citizens. Ms. Lopez is an essential worker during the coronavirus outbreak. She is employed at a hotel that participates in California’s Project Roomkey. As explained by the County of Los Angeles, Project Roomkey is a collaborative effort between state and local authorities to help provide homeless people with a place to stay during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A native of Mexico, Ms. Lopez initially had a deportation order entered against her by an immigration judge back in 2001. However, since that time, she has consistently received a humanitarian waiver from immigration authorities. Suddenly, for completely unexplained reasons, officials ruled against her on her petition for a stay of removal. She is now set to be deported. Her immigration lawyer told reporters that nothing changed on her application and that no reasoning was given. In the middle of a global public health emergency, the mother’s life is set to be uprooted.

Relief for Humanitarian Considerations: Stay of Deportation

Through a successful stay of removal, a deportation order can be temporarily put on hold. In practice, immigration authorities issue stays of removal for a wide range of different reasons—including for humanitarian relief. In other words, they are not required to deport a mother who is working in an essential job and providing care for her children.

Notably, Ms. Lopez has also sought additional protection against deportation in the form of a U visa—she was previously the victim of domestic violence and cooperated with law enforcement. However, because of the enormous backlog in U visa petitions, her application remains pending.

The case demonstrates just how vulnerable many immigrant families are under our current system. After decades of contributing to society, everything can be torn away. Even when much needed relief is granted, it is impossible to rely on temporary protection. Comprehensive immigration reform is a must.

Call Our Los Angeles, CA Immigration Lawyer for Help

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are devoted to solving problems in immigration law. Your case and your rights matter. If you or your loved one is facing deportation in Southern California, our attorney is here to help. For a completely confidential consultation, please call our Los Angeles office today.

Josh Goldstein
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