Mother of Two Goes to Immigration Interview and Ends Up in ICE Detention

UPDATE: On February 13, ICE released Calderon from detention, which will allow her to reunite her with her husband and young children while she seeks to vindicate her legal rights.

A federal judge in Boston has stayed the deportation of a Rhode Island woman pending his review of a petition challenging her detention and the government’s efforts to remove her. The judge, Mark L. Wolf, is one of a growing number of judges across the country who are looking closely at the government’s increasingly aggressive detention and deportation practices.

Lilian Calderon, who was detained last month by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is a 30-year-old mother of two young children who has lived in the United States since she was brought across the border at the age of three. Her detention has separated her from children who desperately need her care and raised the possibility that she could be whisked away to Guatemala, a country she barely knows.

Calderon has lived with a final order of removal since she was 15 — when her father lost his asylum bid. In 2016, after living in the shadows her whole life, she and her husband began a process created by the government that allows individuals in Calderon’s situation to apply for lawful permanent residency.

On Jan. 17, she appeared at the Johnston, Rhode Island, offices of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with her husband for an interview designed to confirm their marital relationship — the first step in the process of seeking to become a lawful permanent resident. At the end of the interview, USCIS recognized their marital relationship as legitimate, setting her one step further along the path of seeking her status. Immediately afterward, she was abruptly detained by ICE and taken to a detention facility in Boston. In effect, the government’s left hand beckoned her forward, and its right hand grabbed her.

But that detention — and any potential removal of Calderon — violates U.S. laws, regulations, and the Constitution, which prohibits detentions that are not reasonably related to the government’s purpose of preventing flight and protecting the community. That’s why the ACLU of Massachusetts, supported by the ACLU of Rhode Island, this week filed a petition in federal court to seek Calderon’s immediate release from immigration detention. Although the federal judge’s order bars any immediate deportation to Guatemala, Calderon’s ordeal continues as the court weighs whether she should be released from a cell in Boston and returned to her two young children and husband.

Our petition for Calderon’s releases notes the impact her detention has already had on her family, including her 4-year-old daughter and 22-month-old son. Her young daughter has begun having nightmares three or four times a night, bursting into tears without warning, crying for her mother, and becoming frightened by brief separations from other family members. Her younger son can no longer sleep in his crib on his own. Her husband says he feels like he’s lost his best friend.

Calderon is being detained even though there is no evidence that she poses a flight or security risk. This is yet another local example of families torn apart and lives disrupted for no legitimate immigration enforcement purpose. The Trump administration’s detention and deportation machine grinds on, leaving nothing but misery in its wake.

A hearing in Calderon v. Nielsen will be held on February 21, 2018, at 10 a.m. in Boston.

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Typical Drumpf knuckle-dragger, hate filled, ignorant troll commenting behind the mask of anonymity. Stand up and allow your identity to be seen for all its disgusting, bigoted glory. You're like a bully who, "throws rocks and hides their hands."
A 3 year old breaking the law? What's your excuse for being an idiot?


Thank goodness for the ACLU. I’m a proud member and supporter since I1992. Considering there are so many people who feel they are superior simply because they were born here it’s comforting to have the ACLU fighting against these ignorant individuals & those who think the Constitution is a “guide” to loosely follow . There are so many who pick and choose which rights to support according to their personal and political views that they forget the purpose of the Constitution. The law of the land states this woman is being detained unconstitutionally. I have to laugh at the person who said they “used” to see in black & white. There is no “used to” about it. There is still very much black & white thinking being spewed by this person. The thought that a 3 year old committed a crime or is accountable for the actions orf her parents is not open—minded thinking. It’s also a very cruel & heartless way to view things. I feel sorry for this cold-hearted person who sees life through such a selfish lens. I’d rather surround myself with hundreds of caring illegal immigrants than to spen d one minute with such an ignorant & hateful legal citizen.


top of the page....big bold lettering SPEAK FREELY unless you dont share our oppinions in wich case we will all endevour to insult and shun you , you are all the BIGGEST set of hypocrites


She has the right to stay


SORRY SHE SHOULD LEAVE WHY? SHE HAS BEEN UNDER A DEPORTITION ORDER SINCE SHE WAS 15 WITH HER FAMILY ..since that day she has broken the law and should be lets ad in it took another 15 years for her to even try to become legal when she had 15 years before to try..she has been married at least 5 years and could have started all this sorry but if you break the law which states get the hell out then get the hell out..lets see how you people would act in there home countries lets see what would happen to u in mexico there illegally wanna know 1 year in prison and if you live that long deported no questions no im trying to become legal get caught again 10 years in prison


Exactly, people are missing the point here. She should've left the country keep an American boyfriend to marry her when she turns 18. They didn't do anything wrong. She was deportable since she was 15 years old. I tell you it's crazy. I'm a child of immigrants. My parents paid their way to come here. Why I'm not complaining? I'm a legal citizen that why. My parents did put in their paperwork. My parents were approved and came by plane. My parents obtained their social security numbers and working papers. My parents obtained jobs legally. My parents weren't hiding in the shadows. What am I missing here? Please


Okay at 3 and 15 she had no way of being responsible. .However why wait til she's in her 30's and have 2 kids?..she obviously knew then. .If she married an American citizen then why keep living under the grid til now? ..As a nation we are a nation of laws if we as legal citizens have to follow them why don't they?..It's not that they'res no empathy. .apparently her whole family has been given that so at what point do we say enough is enough? ?


Send her back to Guatemala and broadcast her case loudly to set an example for other irresponsible Hispanic parents (Hispanics are criminal, they love breaking the law)


How is this not a violation of the children’s (US citizens) constitutional rights?!?! To have your parent stolen away from you when you’re only an infant?! I’d call that cruel and unusual punishment. It’s also torture for the mother. I can’t imagine.


An Immigration Judge issued a final order of removal against Calderon 15 years ago.
ICE is enforcing the laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. ICE gets vilified for doing their job. They are a law enforcement agency. Calderon ignored a court order for 15 years. We need to dispel the notion that it is OK to violate the laws of this country and ignore orders. Would it be OK for anyone else to ignore a court order?


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