Fairfield mother Maribel Trujillo Diaz is still scheduled to be deported back to Mexico Wednesday, but her lawyer and several religious leaders have made final pleas with federal officials.
“We have filed another request for prosecutorial discretion with the ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) field office in New Orleans,” attorney Emily Brown of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) told this news outlet.
Officials there hold jurisdiction over the region, including Louisiana, where Trujillo Diaz, who goes simply by Trujillo, is being held at an ICE detention center near Jena, La.
“We have not heard back yet,” said Brown, who believed Trujillo would be flown to Mexico in the earliest hours of Wednesday from an airport in Alexandria, La.
“We don’t know for sure it will be in the morning, but that is commonly what ICE does when deporting people,” Brown said. “We expect that we would hear news of the deportation once she has landed in Mexico and calls us.”
Meanwhile, the pastor for Trujillo said her youngest daughter, 3-year-old Daniela, will not be able to accompany her mother back to Mexico.
“It looks like that is not going to happen,” said Father Mike Pucke of St. Julie Billiart in Hamilton, where Trujillo is a volunteer lector, reading scriptures during services. “So, if it would happen, it would happen down the road that somebody with papers would take her to the mother.”
Daniela suffers seizures, and her mother received special training to know when an event is coming on and how to deal with it, according to Pucke.
“The only thing that we really hope is that with all the good publicity that we’ve had, that somebody of the heirarchs is going to say, ‘This is costing us more than we wanted, and it’s going to come back and bite us in the butt,’” Pucke said. “But in terms of actual, straightforward legal appeals and stuff like that, it’s pretty well exhausted now.”
Trujillo’s four children, all American citizens, range in age from 3-14.
Advocates for Trujillo, including the chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, have urged the Department of Homeland Security and ICE to focus their resources on deporting dangerous criminals, rather than those with no criminal history who have families here in the United States.
Others have noted Trujillo entered the country illegally, and therefore should be sent back.
“Is she in the country illegally?” State Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, asked two days after Trujillo was detained. “Well, then, that’s a crime.”
Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, in addition to writing the Department of Homeland Security in February about Trujillo, also called elected officials last week, Pucke said.
ICE officials first came into contact with Trujillo in 2007, when she was among dozens arrested during a federal immigration raid at the Koch Foods plant in Fairfield.
Trujillo lost her final appeal for amnesty in mid-2014. She said her family was targeted by drug cartels in her Mexican hometown.
When immigration officials again moved to deport her in 2016, religious leaders’ pleas on her behalf garnered Trujillo a work permit meant to last until this July.
That permit was still valid when ICE arrested her again in April.
“She has no criminal record, no previous immigration violations — clean as a whistle,” another of her lawyers, Kathleen Kersh, said of the woman who has lived in this country since 2002.
No matter what happens with Trujillo’s deportation, St. Julie’s at 2 p.m. on Sunday will host a ecumenical prayer service for Trujillo, which will coincide with the Feast of Divine Mercy.
Pucke said he and a representative from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati had spoken earlier in the day, and, “We both agreed there’s not a whole lot more that we could say at this stage. Just pray that something happens.”
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