GOLETA, Calif. – Lawyers and advocates have asked President Joe Biden to grant a pardon to the Goleta grandmother who was deported in 2019 under Trump Administration immigration policies.
Juana Maria Flores was deported to Mexico in 2019, leaving behind 10 children, 19 grandchildren, her husband, a son in the U.S. Air Force, and a disabled son who she cared for.
Flores returned home to Goleta in June 2021 as part of a temporary humanitarian parole that was set to last for only a year.
Come June, Flores would have to have reapplied to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for another temporary year-long stay in Goleta – her home of 30 years, according to spokeswoman Paula Lopez.
The pardon that lawyers are seeking for Flores would allow her to apply for permanent status in the United States as the spouse of a U.S. citizen, Lopez said.
Flores' legal team, which consists of Attorney Kraig Rice and retired Judge Frank J. Ochoa, has shifted the goal from "Bring Juana Home" to "Keep Juana Home," Lopez said.
Ochoa explained the process, saying that the legal team first submitted an application to renew Flores' humanitarian parole status and second, worked with Congressman Salud Carbajal to introduce legislation that could impact over 10,000 active-duty service members.
Ochoa also said that the team has requested a presidential pardon from Biden and the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The application is currently pending, Lopez said.
"Fourth, we will ask Congressman Salud Carbajal and Senator Alex Padilla to submit private legislation for Mrs. Flores herself to receive permanent status in what is clearly her home country,” Ochoa said.
“The Biden Administration has already determined that she deserves a reprieve and has granted provisional relief to her – all that we are seeking at this juncture is to make the temporary reprieve permanent, and the President’s pardon/reprieve power represents the best means for achieving that objective.”
Flores has an extensive family in the country, has never been accused or convicted of any criminal offense, and has been a law-abiding, tax-paying, home-owning member of the community for decades, Lopez said.