WATCH, SHARE, SIGN: Cristina read this message to ICE just before going to her check in. She was then detained. Please take the time to sign and share her petition at afsc.org/cristinabelongshere #CristinaBelongsHere #Not1More
Posted by American Friends Service Committee on Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Cristina Rodriguez is facing deportation for a misdemeanor committed 7 years ago while trying to leave an abusive partner.
In a story that is becoming all too familiar, a mother of three is facing deportation for an old crime that, according to her attorney, James Lamb, is one of the lowest level misdemeanors in the state of Colorado. James Lamb, a senior associate at Chan Law Firm in Denver, Colo., spoke with mitú about the deportation of Rodriguez. Cristina Rodriguez’s problems started in 2010 when she tried getting away from an abusive partner.
Rodriguez called the police on her abusive partner and told the police that she was holding their infant son when he struck her. When the police arrived, they discovered that while Rodriguez’s partner was abusive, Rodriguez was not truthful in telling the police that she was holding the infant when he struck her. This falsehood led the police to arrest Rodriguez for lying to the police. The child was taken to the emergency room by police, where evidence of previous sustained physical abuse was found. Rodriguez’s partner was convicted of felony child abuse. Rodriguez had no knowledge of the child’s abuse until she called the police and the proof was discovered by the doctors, according to Lamb.
“I don’t think it would be fair to categorize her as a negligent mother or anything like that. Certainly, since that case, which concluded in 2010, she has not had any other criminal encounters at all,” Lamb told mitú. “So, that got the ball rolling on immigration proceedings. There was prior counsel on that case and Cristina eventually ended up taking voluntary departure. It’s not necessarily the case strategy I would have chosen, for a number of reasons but that’s what happened.”
Rodriguez was detained after going to a scheduled check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a technique of detention that is being called a “silent raid.” A “silent raid,” according to America’s Voice, is defined as the practice of immigrants going to ICE office for routine check-ins and being detained and deported.
In Rodriguez’s case, she went in for her check-in on Wednesday, June 21 and is expected to be deported today, Friday, June 23. The quick turn around for her deportation is because of her nationality. As Lamb explained to mitú, when it comes to deporting people, there is usually a schedule set up by the ICE office in the area. For Colorado, Mexican nationals are deported Friday mornings.
“We’re dealing with something that’s more machine that human. So, they have a day when they tend to send out Mexican nationals and in the Denver area, that just happens to be Friday morning,” Lamb told mitú. “That doesn’t mean you’re going to be deported that day, just means that you’re probably going to be moved probably to Arizona or New Mexico to a staging facility and held there until they get around to finally taking you across the border.”
Lamb told mitú that it is likely that ICE won’t hold Rodriguez long since publicity is building around the case.
— MaketheRoadNewYork (@MaketheRoadNY) June 22, 2017
Since her detention, #CristinaBelongsHere is being used by those who have learned about the case to bring more visibility to Rodriguez’ situation. Rodriguez was brought to the U.S. when she was just 5 years old by her parents and has very few memories of Mexico, according to Rodriguez’ recorded statement. The statement was recorded just before Rodriguez went for her check-in with ICE.
“It’s very sad that this country, being so powerful and full of opportunity, can’t fix the immigration system,” Rodriguez said in her recorded statement. “Thousands of families are being separated daily and they don’t understand that it tears not only the families but everything we’ve accomplished.”
Lamb confirmed to mitú that ICE has denied Rodriguez’ stay of removal and a recent press release confirms that she has been moved to a facility in Arizona.