GOLETA, Calif. - A family in Goleta held a vigil Saturday afternoon pleading for the return of their grandmother who was deported to Mexico two years ago.
Congressman Salud Carbajal attended the gathering, along with several other public figures, at De La Guerra Plaza in Santa Barbara to show support of the Flores family.
57-year-old Juana Flores lived in Goleta and was forced to leave her family home in 2019 due to the Trump Administration’s immigration policies.
The Flores family said Juana left behind a son in the U.S. military as well as a disabled son and a husband with medical issues, both of whom were under her care and are reportedly struggling in her absence.
Goleta City Council members sympathized with the family and unanimously passed a resolution in support of returning Juana to her home.
Members of the Board of Supervisors for the County of Santa Barbara followed with a declaration of support and a plea to authorities to let Juana come back. Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo also spoke out in support.
Juana’s case is now being heard at the federal level. Her application for humanitarian parole is currently pending before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“Her family and her community cannot wait until the legislative enactment process wends its way through Congress. We are asking the Department of Homeland Security to allow Mrs. Flores to return home now. The Department has the discretion to do so and can reunite Mrs. Flores with her ten children and 18 grandchildren now,” said Hon. Frank J. Ochoa, who spoke at Saturday's vigil.
Juana entered the U.S. from Mexico without a visa in 1988, two years after then-President Ronald Reagan signed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act granting status to illegal immigrants. Between 1988 and 2019, she married and settled down in California, where she and her husband--a permanent resident since 2009 and U.S. citizen since 2015--bought a home, raised a family and paid taxes as any other member of the community.