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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Not an orange dotard

She probably has a much better grasp on our values and language than you appear to have. I say we keep her and deport you to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

J. Vargas

First, learn how to spell before you decide to be all "Amerikkka". Secondly, remember your position on this topic the next time you find yourself in a situation where you are trying to seek "special treatment" because of circumstances that were beyond your control. Or people you care about find themselves in situations where they "just need a break" and no one in the position to help will do so. I hope life serves it up to you and your family in spades.


ever speed? because you are just as much a criminal then.


I'm the self appointed grammar police and I charge you with not only using run on sentences but horrible grammar and misspelling, just like your president.
I feel sorry for you because you have no compassion for your fellow human beings.
Tell me, do you think Melania should be deported? Or do you think it's acceptable that she came here as an adult on a work Visa, married trump, and somehow fast tracked to citizenship, with the right to vote. Oh yeah, I forgot she's a white Eastern European, silly me.


Being here illegally under her circumstances is at most a misdemeanor. Now she's been in jail for 30 days. When's the last time you saw someone spend 30 days in jail for a misdemeanor? Heartless bigot.


This comment is for the PHD in Immigration Law who commented she is a "criminal".Your comment just depicts what kind of ignorant human being you are. Finish your GED first and then write something with sense....just saying... Have a nice day..

Merrill Kaitz

When, exactly, did she break the law? When she was 3? When her father's application for asylum was denied?
"thinking she would get special she does not we sure dont"-- here we see the source or resentment and anger against immigrant scapegoats.
I guess it's when she had kids, rather than leaving her home and family and flying alone to a strange country?


You’re a moron. Stop talking and keep your mouth shut. No one wants to hear it. From, a person who knows what it means to be an American.


I wish we could trade her for you.


Your cold-blooded!!! She is married with 2 kids never been in trouble with the law it's not her fault she was brought here illegal !!!


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