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Goleta grandmother facing ICE deportation gets 6-month extension to stay

A Goleta woman facing deportation by Immigration Customs and Enforcement for being in the country illegally for 30 years has been given a 6 month extension Monday to remain in the country with her family to allow ICE to further review her case.

The attorney for Juana Maria Flores, Kraig Rice, also says Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal wrote a letter to ICE on her behalf citing his role on the House Armed Services Committee and her son’s service in the U.S. Air Force.

Juana Maria Flores is a wife, mother of 10 children and has 15 grandchildren, all of whom are legal U.S. residents and has no criminal record.

In 1988, Flores and her husband entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico, while her husband eventually gained legal residency, she remains an undocumented illegal immigrant.

In 1999, Flores went back across the border to visit her sick mother. When she returned to the U.S. without permission, her attorney says it created a technical immigration violation.

Juana Maria Flores has filed a request for a stay of removal with ICE on grounds she needs to remain in the country to care for an adult disabled son and other family members.

“If she’s removed, we will end up taking care of her son. So you have to decide whether it weighs in favor of removing Juana in order to enforce the letter of the law all the way to the end or whether there’s compelling reasons that we would like her to stay here,” Rice explained.

With what they believe are anti-immigrant sentiments in the trump administration, Flores and her attorney are now waiting to see if the administration will stop targeting families like hers.

“Until they can be sincere about their enforcement priorities, which are going after the bad guys, going after the “bad hombres”, – when they do that – leave the low hanging fruit alone. Let these families stay together,” Rice said.

Rice stresses Flores still faces possible deportation when her case comes back to ICE for review in February 2019.

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