Things That Matter

ICE Is Trying To Deport A Woman Battling Cancer But Her Son Is Doing All He Can To Stop It

A 24-year-old doctoral candidate at Yale University and Dreamer is garnering public support in his attempt to stop his mother, who is recovering from Stage 4 cancer, from being deported. Cristian Padilla Romero says his mother Tania Romero, a Honduran immigrant and mother of four, is facing deportation after being arrested for a traffic violation. Cristian claims Tania’s condition will worsen if she is deported. 

The son created a petition asking Immigration and Customs Enforcement to “be humane and release my mother to fight her case outside of detention and so she can fully recover from a long battle against cancer.” Since it went up last week it has gotten 29,292 signatures of 30,000 required. 

“Nobody really deserves to be detained by ICE, but my mom in particular, who’s recovering from cancer and whose health is very fragile at the moment, really needs to be released as soon as possible,” Cristian told the Yale Daily News.

Tania Romero faces deportation after a traffic stop.

According to the college paper, Tania was pulled over for a traffic violation in August in Gwinnett, County, Georgia. The following day she was placed in ICE detention where she still is today and faces seemingly imminent deportation. Moreover, the 48-year-old has been recovering from Stage 4 oral cancer and has been receiving ongoing treatment. 

“I grew up in this country. My mother is the single biggest reason I am at a school like Yale,” Cristian told the New York Times. “She guided me, worked three jobs to support me.” 

Tania brought Cristian, who is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, to the United States when he was 7 years old. Tania arrived herself two decades ago and raised her four kids in Atlanta. She kept multiple jobs as a housekeeper, dishwasher, and laundromat attendant before settling into full-time construction work. 

“If deported to Honduras she would certainly face a decline in her health, if not death, as the country lacks proper facilities to treat oral cancer, an overall shortage of advanced medication and treatments for cancer survivors,” Cristian told The Hill

ICE failed to deliver a 2008 issue for removal according to Cristian. 

ICE claims that Tania was issued an order of removal in 2008 because she failed to attend hearings in immigration court. However, Cristian learned through a Freedom of Information Act request that Tania did not receive any of the three notices asking her to appear in court. 

The FOIA request showed that all of the letters had been returned to ICE by the United States Postal Service. Although Tania was aware she an undocumented immigrant she did not know there was an issue for her removal until 2018. 

“The agency’s general position has been that undocumented immigrants are not automatically entitled to stay in the country, even in cases of people who are receiving life-saving medical treatment,” according to the New York Times

Tania’s condition worsens while in ICE detention. 

In 2016, Tania was diagnosed with oral cancer but by then it was already at Stage 4. The mother has endured surgery, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and has suffered damage to her jaw. 

“It’s very hard for her to eat in general, and we are really concerned about her health in detention, where she is not receiving any special accommodation,” Cristian told the New York Times

Health staff at the ICE facility where Tania is staying found that she had a severe B12 deficiency and required hospitalization. However, Cristian says she was never hospitalized and required her lawyer to intervene to even receive remedial B12 injections. 

“The other thing is that they are in a big room with a hundred other people, with bunk beds, and only turn off the lights for a few hours at night, maybe 1 to 4 a.m., so she doesn’t get any profound or significant rest,” Cristian told The New Yorker

Congresswoman Lucy McBath (D-GA) and others get involved.

Representative Lucy McBath, who unseated an incumbent in the 2018 Democratic sweep, and who represents Cristian’s district has tried to intervene at ICE. According to The Hill, ICE has agreed to halt Tania’s deportation until the agency meets with McBath’s staff. 

“Cristian’s story is not the only story like this,” said Miriam Feldblum, who vice president for student affairs at Pomona College when Cristian attended undergrad there. “Students on campuses across the country are struggling with immigration issues. Their parents are in deportation. They are in limbo.”

Cristian’s classmates at Yale have also shown their support. They’ve written letters and organized phone banks to thwart Tania’s deportation. 

“Sending my mother back to Honduras would be a death sentence. We’re not going to stop our work until she is released,” Cristian told the New York Times. 

While Tania’s future remains uncertain, in the meantime, you can donate to the family’s GoFundMe.

Brazilian Researchers 3D-Print Part Of The Face For Cancer Survivor

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Brazilian Researchers 3D-Print Part Of The Face For Cancer Survivor

@mr_nobody / Twitter

A Brazilian cancer survivor has been fitted with a prosthetic eye and face to cover the hole that a devastating bout of skin cancer left. Denise Vicentin, 52, beat her cancer a decade ago and has since been living without a part of her jaw and her right eye ever since. Vicentin was so self-conscious about her battle scars, she became afraid to go out in public. People would stare at her everywhere she went and, soon, her social life and marriage fell apart. “[Before] when I was on the metro or train, I tried not to pay attention to the stares. At places like the bowling alley, I felt them looking, and the person would even leave when they saw me,” she told the Daily Mail.

Ten years later, researchers were able to create a custom prosthetic using just a smartphone camera and a 3D printer. Now, she feels like she has her ‘missing piece’ and says she is so happy that she even sleeps with it on.

Years ago, she was offered a hand-made prosthetic, but it would have cost her half a million dollars.


A portion of her right jaw was removed, making it difficult for her to eat and slurring her speech. One of Vicentin’s most painful wounds left behind by the cancer was her inability to navigate throughout society without being ostracized or made to feel different. When doctors offered her the opportunity to have a prosthetic made for her, she had no choice but to turn it down. It would have cost over half a million U.S. dollars. 

Waiting for the right moment may have paid off for Vicentin. As technology has advanced, the capabilities of 3-D printing are only just now being realized. Vicentin sought out an alternative treatment at São Paulo’s Paulista University just last year and is already walking into 2020 with a new lease on self-confidence.

The final prosthesis just took 12 hours to create and a fraction of the cost thanks to 3-D printing technology.


The research team at Paulista University formulated a plan to give Vicentin her ‘missing piece.’ Vicentin would have to undergo several surgeries over the next year in order to fit the prosthesis. Then, the doctors took 15 photos of Vicentin’s right eye socket from a simple smartphone. From there, they were able to use all the images to digitize a 3-D model that would eventually become the blueprint for the 3-D printer. 

The final model was printed and refined in just 12 hours, from a mixture of silicone, resin, and synthetic fibers. After the 3-D printer created the technical piece that would sit flush on Vicentin’s face, a bit of human artistry was applied to make the prosthetic as realistic as possible. The researchers painted the prosthetic to match Vicentin’s exact eye hue and skin color. They even individually secured lashes to resemble that of her other eyelid.

The research team has been perfecting 3-D prosthetics since 2016, offering new levels of confidence to over 50 patients so far.


Dr. Rodrigo Salazar has specialized in maxillofacial prosthetics for the last few years and has married technology with medicine to create lasting change for his patients. In order to get a proper model for a prosthetic, he used to have to create a mold of the patient’s face, on the patient’s face. Today, he needs only a smartphone camera to capture the necessary data to create a model prosthetic. 

Vicentin never expected skin cancer to become a defining chapter of her life.


When Vicentin was in her early 20s, she found a strange growth on her face and went to the doctor. It was a tumor, but it was benign, non-cancerous. She had it surgically removed and thought that was the end of it. It returned again, once again, benign. She had it removed a second time and enjoyed nearly 20 more years tumor-free. Ten years ago, the tumor came back, but it was malignant, slowly ravaging the right side of her face.

Today, Vicentin has titanium hooks surgically placed around her eye socket in order to be able to securely wear the prosthesis and take it off when she pleases. So far, Vicentin has been wearing the prosthetic for just a month and she loves it. ‘It was a long time looking at a face which was missing a piece, so I am so happy. I only took it off to clean it – I even slept with it,” Vicentin told the Daily Mail

An Army Veteran’s Mom Was Deported Back To Mexico After Showing Up For A Meeting With ICE

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An Army Veteran’s Mom Was Deported Back To Mexico After Showing Up For A Meeting With ICE

Gerardo Aroni / Alianz

Imagine living in the United States for 31 years, raising your kids there, have a son enrol in the Army to defend your adopted country and then suddenly being deported to a country you no longer recognize as your own. Well, that is what the mother of an Army Officer experienced a few weeks ago in a case that has caught the media’s attention. Her son argues that her case was mishandled and that she should not have been sent to Tijuana, where she knows almost no one.

Military families make huge sacrifices to serve their country and even though special deferrals are sometimes granted, they hold their breath expecting the worst. And the worst is exactly what ends up happening sometimes. 

The beginning of 2020 spelled doom for Rocio Rebollar Gomez y su familia as she was sent to Mexico after building a life in the United States.

Rebollar Gomez, now 51-years-old, had three children in the United States, including 30-year-old Second Lt. Gibram Cruz, who has served in the army for half a decade. She has a life in the United States and had hired a lawyer to deal with her migratory status in the best possible way. She even was scheduled to self-deport and had agreed on that with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

She attended a meeting with ICE, not knowing that the authorities would deport her then and there! 

Gibram Cruz has called ICE’s actions inhumane. As The New York Times reports, ICE acted on the first opportunity they got to deport Rocio Rebollar Gomez to Mexico: “Ms. Gomez, 51, was previously scheduled to self deport and that plan was known to ICE, the family’s lawyer, Tessa Cabrera, said on Friday. Instead, as the family went to an ICE office to discuss her case, Ms. Gomez was taken across the border to Tijuana without a chance to say goodbye, Ms. Cabrera said”. This is just appalling. Actions like this spark psychological trauma in a situation that is already dire to begin with. It feels like a premeditated effort to add insult to injury. 

Rocio Rebollar Gomez tried to do things right and explore every avenue to stay in the United States, including benefits given to military families.

Lt. Gibram Cruz claims that his mother was “snuck her out through the back” and that she was in Mexico in less than half an hour. Rebollar Gomez ran a small business selling health products and also drove for Uber. According to NYT she also explored an exemption provided to military families for service to country, as she “had attempted to stay in the United States legally, including deferred action under the discretionary option for military families through Citizen and Immigration Services, Ms. Cabrera said”. She had previously been removed from the country in 1995, 2005 and 2009 but found her way back to her family. 

ICE has responded and says that her removal was deserved, but Lt Gibran Cruz claims his mom did what any woman in her situation would have done.

As NYT reports, Mary G. Houtmann, a spokeswoman for ICE, said that “Ms. Gomez’s 2009 removal was the result of a 2008 order by an immigration judge and that she illegally re-entered the country after that.”

Gibran does not deny the fact that his mother re-entered the country illegally, but claims that her removal was unnecessary: “Her as a responsible mother did what any mother in her situation would do and came back to care for her children by any means. A country that was founded on immigrants should be welcoming to my mother, who her whole life has been an outstanding citizen.”

He continued while at a press conference: “We have always provided and succeeded by ourselves. We simply asked ICE to exercise some discretion and let her continue being a contributing member of her society”. Gibran also stressed the fact that military families make a lot of sacrifices and special considerations should be explored. 

In the meantime, Rocio’s family is worried about her safety while in Mexico.

Rocio’s family is concerned about her safety back in Mexico. According to one of her daughters, Karla McKissick, one of Rocio’s brothers was abducted in Acapulco and is now presumed dead. His body has never been found. Rocio will stay with a half-sister she had not seen in a decade. The family lawyer has indicated that they have run out of options. In the meantime, the family will go south of the border to bring her supplies, but the family has been torn apart and left traumatized and scarred for life.