A Portrait of the High Cost of Deportation

On December 12th, 2017 The Guardian published a heartbreaking portrait of a woman who was deported from the United States after living in Los Angeles County for more than 25 years. Luz María Hernández, originally from Guerrero, Mexico, a southern state that has been rocked by violence related to the drug trade, was detained by ICE agents and quickly deported from the country. This happened despite the fact that she currently has five children who are living in the United States.

Those children, who are aged three to 23, are all American citizens. Now, they are stuck, without access to their mother. According to the reporting, the youngest child’s father is also an undocumented immigrant. This makes it impossible for him to even bring his daughter to Mexico to visit her mother. The toll that has been taken on this family, and many others in our region, is horrifying.

Her Only Crime Was Working in the United States

Under the Trump Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has repeatedly touted the fact that they are focusing their enforcement efforts on undocumented immigrants who have criminal records. However, this case, and many others like it, show how ICE is misleading the public.

Ms. Hernández never committed any serious crime. She worked under her real name at a Mexican restaurant in Southern California. To get this job, which she needed to support herself and her children, she was forced to supply a false Social Security number. When the restaurant was raided by federal immigration officials, she was arrested for this violation, her only offense.

ICE Pressured Her to Sign Deportation Papers

According to The Guardian, Ms. Hernández was under the impression that she may have been able to get asylum in the United States due to the fact that her home state in Mexico was so dangerous. However, when she brought this topic up to ICE agents, they became frustrated with her, and simply replied that “Los Angeles is violent too”, and pressured her into signing deportation papers. The papers were written in English, and Ms. Hernández, due to her language limitations, was largely unaware of what she was being asked to sign.

Within hours of being put in the custody of ICE, she was back in Mexico. After 25 years in the United States, she was dropped off by U.S. immigration agents, with seemingly no options and no recourse. Sadly, far too many mixed-status families in Southern California, those that have some members who are undocumented and some member who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, have suffered the very same fate. The cost of deportation is extremely high.

Contact Our Los Angeles Visa Lawyers Today

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our law firm supports all immigrants in L.A. We are dedicated to providing top-quality legal services to immigrants and their family members. If you or a loved one is facing deportation, please do not hesitate to call a Los Angeles immigration lawyer at our office today at (213) 262-2000. We serve communities throughout Southern California, including in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, and San Bernardino County.