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.

View comments (484)
Read the Terms of Use


I see a lot of anonymous poorly brought up hateful people who should be taken out of the country rather than people who is looking to live their life a pay taxes.

V payne

She was brought her as a toddler, she has broken no law. She is married to a US citizen which in history would have made her eligible for citizenship. Why would you deport this wife and mother? McCarthism is not lives on through Trump! This is disgraceful!


I would like to share my illegal immigration experience. I am 100 % legal to become US citizen. I am from Taiwan, I estimated my great grandfather or older ancestor was coming from China illegal. At that time Taiwan belong to China, As long as we pay our tax, our government never deport illegal Taiwanese to China. I estimated over 50 % of citizen in Taiwan were illegal. Why spend so much time and effort to deport them ? Why not make them hard to find the job and they will remove themselves without our involvement. How ? Strict punishment on employer who hire illegal immigrant.


I think ignorance is contagious. There seems to be more and more ignorant people everyday. My family came from South Africa settled in Mexico and my great grandmother and grandfather swam the rio Grande to get here. I'm not Mexican and I'm not African American I'm as white as they come. We are all immigrants here. If we wanna get down and dirty let's start with who owned this land first. You are probably one of those that say if there going to be here then they need to do it the right way and get their papers. Do you know why they are so afraid to apply for their papers, because of this bullshit. You know all those fruits and vegetables you eat who do you think goes and works in the freezing cold or really hot conditions to pick them. They walk miles planting the plants and digging holes and trenches for the water pipes to be installed. They make minimum wage for back breaking work that Americans won't do. Until u have lived what they live shut your mouth. You wouldn't make it one day as an immigrant. There strength and motivation is something we lack. If they removed all the immigrants guess what's going to happen to the prices of produce, fruit , or even wine for that matter? It will say rocket in price. This lady had no choice. She was raised believing this was her home and she had every right to start a family. But because of heartless people like u she is not only suffering but so are two innocent children. Your a disgrace of what this country once stood for. Keep standing behind a president that doesn't give to flying ××××× about you. He is all about himself. Everything that every president has fought to change he is undoing and bringing it back. Im so tired of seeing these remarks. You will be the first one that bitches when prices start to go up and it will be your own damn fault. Removing illegal aliens would affect every single American. You are probably an uneducated racist and have know clue how things work.


No illegals downplay on jobs. Don't believe what popular media tells you. Front desk job arent offer to "English speaking" people anymore. Go into any hospital, medical centers, and etc all speaks Spanish. Your teenage son or daughter can't even get a job now because they not Spanish or speak Spanish. Have you thought about your social security? They don't pay the rightful taxes into but we sure giving them Medicaid, food stamps, I have experience with them. Go to Long Island NY and see how it look like trash and the crime has gone up so much since the illegals moved in there. I'm a child of immigrants. You cant say nothing. They aren't the only immigrants that work hard in America. Constructions jobs. CDL because they work cheap and not for their worth.


Before you speak such nonsense so you don't look like an idiot, do your research. Illegal aliens can not receive benefits for themselves. The only thing they can receive is emergency medical while a woman is pregnant or if the illegal alien is married to an American on aid. Its has to be a life threateming emergency for them to gey medicao to pay for it. Other than that they are on their own. They do not get food stamps or cash aid for themselves or any children that are illegal. The only way they can get benefits is for a child that was born in the United States. That's it. They only get aid for them which is not a lot plus they have to participate in the programs social services requires of them. If they get pregnant while on aid they can not receive cash aid for the second child. You are as stupid as they come. Educate yourself first before you speak such non-sense. You should be sent back to where ever your ancestors came from. You know nothing about the systems here. You are a disgrace to us Americans.


Are you sure? Which state do you live in? NYC plenty of them is on the system. That explains the 4 kids they have back to back. Explains the free service they receive from Medicaid and health first. Please, my cousin went to food stamp office to get temporarily help after her 3rd child and was off from "work" she got denied! She said she went off in the office and told them how she pays her taxes and she needs little help. How she sees all these "illegals" in here who don't speak English benefiting off her aid. They gave it to her after she went off. Can you imagine you need help paid your taxes and you get help and you're an American Citizen? Please explain to me if they weren't getting help why are they so press to come up here illegally? Just because America was built on immigration doesn't give illegals the right to stay in a country that tries to preserve their rules and regulations? Can we be illegals in their country? Can we obtain help from their country? Please...


You are rude and obnoxious to be talking to the uniformed in that fashion. I feel for your family if you teach your children the same way. #StoneHeart

GOOD NEWS - GOD can give you a heart of flesh and remove that old heart of stone. I KNOW. GOD has blessed me abundantly with a new way of life.


I don't have a heart for no DACA its front. I'm from immigrants parents that paid their way to come into this country "legally". Living in NYC rent gone up because of multiple people living in a one bedroom. They get food stamps, SSI, and housing just having an anchor child. They share the information with each other. An English speaking person cant even get a job because they "preferred" Spanish speaking especially in hospitals. They don't pay their right amount of taxes. Why America allow kids to be registered in school without a social anyway? You guys feeling sorry for them is a joke. It's a game! Trust me. If DACA is allowed AMERICA NEED TO REIMBURSE ALL IMMIGRANTS WHO PAID THEIR WAY TO COME TO AMERICA LEGALLY BACK. You all can get mad all you want it's a game they playing. It's the public assistance thats given to them that they want. Theyre are not the only set of people who work hard in America. You cant even get a hospital front desk job if youre not Spanish. You cant even get a medical assistant job if you're not Spanish. Im sick of it now. Rent goes up because they will have 15 people living in a 2 bedroom now landlords want to charge double in rent. Schools are overcrowded and a strain because the kids dont speak english now it's double work. You have nonproductive country like Puerto Rico that their culture can relate too because they speak Spanish why dont they turn that country into what they trying to turn America to. Anyway you see a lot of spanish working, they will gang up on you to get you out and hire their own. Doest matter is your'e black white Chinese. They just want jab all day and speak into their languages. Her parents broke the law and she shouldn't had been allowed to register at any school in the first place. Stop laying out the honey for these people and any other illegal immigrant to feel they have rights. Even in Dubai doesn't allow the crap there like they doing overhere.


You are such an uneducated moron!! Learn how to spell and we shall go from there!!


Stay Informed