WASHINGTON - A Virginia mother was deported to El Salvador after immigration advocates protested her detainment by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last month.
Liliana Cruz Mendez was taken into custody last month after appearing at her regularly scheduled check-in appointment at the ICE’s Washington Field Office in Fairfax. The 30-year-old mother of two children resided in Falls Church and had been required to check in with ICE after she was stopped by police in 2013 for a broken taillight, and convicted in 2014 of driving without a license, according to CASA, an immigration advocacy group.
Last month, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe pardoned Cruz Mendez for the driving offense in hopes of helping prevent her deportation.
CASA said in a statement:
“We are heartbroken at the way Liliana Cruz Mendez has been ripped from her family after walking in to an ICE check-in out of her own free will. She had no criminal record, except for a minor traffic violation. She received a pardon for that traffic violation from Virginia’s governor Terry McAuliffe and had two Democratic senators tried to intercede on her behalf. Still, the Trump Administration would not listen. It confirms the inhumane and egregious intent of separating families that President Trump and Homeland Security Director John Kelly continue to pursue. Now her future, the future of her two U.S. citizen children, and the future of millions of law-abiding immigrants like Liliana is nothing more than dark tunnel of which there may be no clear way out.”
During former President Barack Obama's administration, Cruz Mendez received two deferrals from deportation in 2014 and 2015.
Cruz Mendez's children, 10 and 4, are U.S. citizens, and her husband has a work permit and is pursuing a green card, according to CASA.
Information from the Associated Press used in this report.