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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Anonymous

She is not a criminal, as she did not commit a criminal offense. Overstaying is a civil offense. Not that I would genuinely expect someone displaying such a profound ignorance and lack of empathy to know or care about the difference.

Anonymous

Are you freaking dumb. Your stupid ass can't even spell right. She came here when she was three and she was at interview to become legal. She is taking the steps to become legal and then She taken her out like that. She didn't come here any fault of her own. Dumb fuck.

Anonymous

Actually, when you commit a crime DEPENDING on the severity. If you have kids and you're female a judge might give you a more lenient sentence because of the kids. (Think probation). This is more likely to happen if its not a violent crime and/or you're a first time offender. So please take your faulty 'tough on crime' stance and educate yourself. The justice system has TWO functions 1) deter crime and 2) rehabilitate offenders

Peggy Ruiz

First I notice you did not post your name you used anonymous which makes you a chicken shit to begin with. Always easy to comment without attaching your name. You are the very reason I support the ACLU as they work to right the wrong. How sad to live life with so much hatred. Wishing you a life of great misery

Anonymous2

What the fuck, "Anonymous," she was here at 15 and not of her own choice! THAT DOESN'T MAKE HER A CRIMINAL - IT MAKES HER A VICTIM. She didn't break the goddamn law, she's been VICTIMIZED BY IT. And all you can do is sit in your castle and pronounce judgment on shit you know nothing about. Just ... STFU dude.

Anonymous

Wouldn't think she or anyone else in same situation expects any kind of special treatment, so luckily for her' your opinion doesn't count with the judges & I'm sure she will be fine getting her citizenship with flying colours !
Lmfao' by the sounds of it' you'll always be a "special" kind of Twat ~ so you can fcuk off back too your safe hobbit now Knob Jockey !

Sarah

These anonymous post should post their name so we know whose willing to hold up progress of humanity. This is horrible, and wrong ICE has become the tool of a facist.

Anonymous

She was brought here as a 3 year old. What law did SHE break? Says she was seeking a legal path to documentation when she was detained for no reason. It sounds to me like she has done the best she can with the circumstances outside her control.

Nancy

Have you seriously met a US citizen who was imprisoned for something their parents did for them when they were three years old? Do you have any compassion for her citizen children and citizen husband? Did you experience at 4 years old being forcibly separated from your mother? Does it worry you that the people being deported are precisely those who are following the rules by following the steps to become legalized? Does it bother you at all to live in a police state? Do you think that a citizen has the right to have their wife or husband live in this country with them? The Republican Administration claims to support marriage and families but seems to have no compunction about tearing them apart. If my daughter were to fall in love with an immigrant and marry him and have children with him, she should be able to have him here in this country with him; she should not have to move to another country to keep her family together.

Anonymous

I really love how all the other replies to this hateful comment have correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
I remember learning all about the path to citizenship in high school physics, and more than a decade later I feel my younger self was duped, since now it seems virtually impossible to not only become a citizen, but to do so without being snatched up by ICE.
This is a horrible situation, and you, original commenter, should be ashamed of your hatred and ignorance.

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