U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) has responded to KSBY’s request for comment regarding its recent decision to remove a Goleta grandmother from the United States.
Juana Flores learned earlier this month her appeal to stay in the U.S. was denied by ICE.
Flores has been in the country illegally for 30 years but she did not appear on ICE’s radar until she visited her sick mother in Mexico and then returned to the U.S., according to her attorney.
ICE says everyone in violation of immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention or removal from the United States.
“Ms. Flores is a citizen of Mexico illegally present in the United States,” ICE said in a statement to KSBY News on Monday. “On Aug. 10, 1999, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service immigration inspectors encountered her and ordered her removed her to Mexico. She was removed the following day. At some point thereafter, she re-entered the United States. ICE encountered her Aug. 26, 2009, and subsequently reinstated her prior order of removal. In 2015, Ms. Flores unsuccessfully appealed before the Board of Immigration Appeals, which dismissed her case. She then applied for a stay of removal, which was granted by ICE – and renewed three additional times for humanitarian reasons. Her last stay of removal has expired, and she remains on an order of supervision pending removal from the U.S.
ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws –including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed — may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”
Flores’ family is looking to political leaders to create legislation that doesn’t target what they consider to be innocent families like theirs.
One of her sons is in the Air Force. Congressman Salud Carbajal’s office says he plans on introducing legislation this week inspired by Juana’s family that would help keep military families together.
Flores will be removed by the ICE on April 1.