FALLS CHURCH, VA (WUSA9) - A woman who was in the U.S. illegally has been deported, despite a pardon from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, two stays of deportation from Pres. Obama, and rallies to keep her in the country with her two young children.
Liliana Cruz Mendez was deported last Thursday back to El Salvador by the Department of Homeland Security, CASA confirmed.
She was detained last month after voluntarily going to an ICE check-in in Fairfax, Va.
“We are heartbroken at the way Liliana Cruz Mendez has been ripped from her family,” CASA wrote in a statement.
The 30-year-old was arrested by border patrol in 2006 after entering the country illegally, according to an ICE spokesperson. She was fleeing violence in El Salvador, according to family.
Then in 2014, CASA says police pulled over the Falls Church woman for a broken headlight. She had no license and her status was discovered.
“She received a pardon for that traffic violation from Virginia’s governor Terry McAuliffe and had two Democratic senators tried to intercede on her behalf,” CASA said in the statement. “Still, the Trump Administration would not listen. It confirms the inhumane and egregious intent of separating families that President Trump and Homeland Security Director John Kelly continue to pursue.”
Lawmakers and supporters used the hashtag #FreeLiliana in hopes of securing her release, but the efforts didn’t work.
Cruz Mendez lived in Falls Church with her husband and two children, ages 4 and 10. Both kids are U.S.-born citizens. Her husband has work authorization in the U.S. and her in-laws are legal permanent residents.
“As her family recovers from the shock, they will try to pick up the pieces and evaluate where they go from here,” CASA said.
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