11-Year-Old Undocumented Girl Is Being Forced To Leave The U.S. Without Her Family
For the past couple of years, there have been waves of migrant caravans that have made there way from Central America to the U.S./Mexico border. While we know that the majority of them are seeking asylum due to the increasing violence and death in their native country, we rarely hear about individual stories. For example, what happens to these people once they have secured asylum from the U.S., then what?
The process for many undocumented people, who are living in the U.S. and are awaiting their court hearings, trying to figure out the judicial system that’s not written in Spanish can be quite difficult and overwhelming to comprehend.
For one family in Houston, Texas, we are learning that the process may cost them to lose one of their family members.
Due to what looks like to be a clerical error, an 11-year-old has been ordered by a Texas judge to leave the U.S. without her entire family.
Dora Alvarado and her two daughters — Adamaris, 15, and Laura, 11 — turned themselves into the border patrol last fall seeking asylum. Since then they have gone to all of their hearings. However, in March one of their hearing notices did not include Laura’s name, which she found extremely odd. After that court visit, a few days later, Dora got a letter stating that her daughter Laura was ordered to be deported, but she couldn’t read it because it was all in English.
When they went to court this week a translator told them what the letter said, and it broke their hearts. If Laura gets deported, she would be the first asylum migrant to be separated from her family and deported.
“I don’t want to leave my mom,” Laura said yesterday, according to The Houston Chronicle. “I want to stay with her.”
The family’s lawyer Silvia Mintz is filing to appeal the motion and says they cannot be at fault for an error made by immigration officials.
“This mistake done by the immigration court has put this family in jeopardy,” Mintz said, according to the publication. “They will be separated if this is not stopped.”
Another reason why the family has faced such a prolonged process is that their regular scheduled hearings had to be rescheduled due to the government shutdown.
The Houston Chronicle also reported that their lawyer has 30 days to try and reopen the case, which may not be easy to do.
“She’s terrified of going back and so is the family,” Cesar Espinosa, executive director of Immigrant Families and Students in the Struggle told The Washington Post. “It seems baffling to threaten to deport an 11-year-old while her immediate family is fighting their deportation cases.”