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ICE still reviewing case of Goleta grandmother facing deportation

Posted at 11:27 AM, Feb 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-28 21:57:26-05

A Goleta grandmother facing deportation will get more time to spend with her family – at least for now.

The Flores family is trying to stay positive after finding out Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is still processing Juana Flores’ paperwork. That means a decision could come back anywhere from a week to several months after Thursday’s check-in.

Sharing tearful hugs with their grandmother before she entered the ICE office Thursday morning, Flores’ grandchildren anxiously waited to learn how much time they’ll have left to spend with their beloved family member.

“I feel like I can speak for all of my cousins when we say it’s heartbreaking seeing our grandma facing this. She has no criminal record, she’s never done anything bad. She’s the main provider for the family and it’s just sad because she’s the main one who holds the family together,” said Andrea Gomez, granddaughter.

Flores has been in the U.S. illegally for the last 30 years.

Back in August of 2018, Flores was granted a six-month stay of removal from ICE. Since then, her attorney, Kraig Rice, has been continuing to build their case for helping Juana stay. Those files are still under review by the Field Office Director in Los Angeles.

“So what we’ve been doing over the last six to eight months is trying to get ICE to see how important Juana Maria Flores’ compelling case is, how important it is for her to stay here to care for her relatives, how important it is for her to stay here and support her son in the U.S. Air Force,” Rice explained.

ICE could come back with a decision in a week or several months, there’s still no definitive timeline.

Juana’s family remains hopeful.

“I’m feeling very nervous, too, but again I’m very positive. I hope they decide very good things for us,” said Juana’s husband, Andres.

“I hope that she gets to stay and if she doesn’t get to stay then she gets to stay with us at least for longer,” Gomez said.

Congressman Salud Carbajal’s office says they were inspired by Juana’s case and now plan to introduce legislation that would prevent the deportation of immediate family members of those serving in the military. That bill could be introduced in just a few weeks.

Juana has 10 children and 15 grandchildren. She is the sole caretaker of one of her children who has disabilities. All of her family members are U.S. citizens except for her.