A Guatemalan woman and her 12-year-old daughter who were deported last Friday, outraging a federal judge who ordered them to be returned immediately, have been found and soon may be back in the United States, their attorney told Fox News Latino.
The woman, who has been identified only as Ana, and her daughter came from Guatemala last year and had been held in a Pennsylvania family detention center since last summer, as their immigration case wended its way through the court system.
On Friday, shortly after they were taken out of the detention center and put on a plane out of the country, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Theodore A. McKee ordered their return saying that the court had been misled.
The judge said he would have granted the request to block the deportation if he had known it was imminent.
Ana’s attorney, Bridget Cambria, told Fox News Latino that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were aware of an emergency request to suspend deportation while an appeal regarding their political asylum case was pending.
Cambria said ICE should have informed the court that it was moving to deport Ana and her daughter. ICE typically does not inform lawyers, detainees or their relatives when it is about to pick someone up for deportation.
Cambria said she has spoken to Ana on the telephone since her deportation.
“Their removal was really stressful for them,” Cambria told FNL. “It was so sudden, and you’re dealing with a mother and a kid. They were sent to Guatemala unescorted. When they got to Guatemala City, the mother had to find a way to get to her other children, who are a long distance away, in the mountains. She had to borrow money to get there,” she added.
Their asylum case contended that both the mother and daughter were victims of domestic abuse in their home country. Cambria did not want to offer details about the domestic violence claim, saying she did not want to put her clients in danger of reprisals from those in Guatemala whom they fled.
Cambria said that from her discussions with U.S. authorities she is optimistic that they will return Ana and her daughter.
Ana has become depressed in detention, Cambria said, where her parenting authority were significantly limited given the prison-like environment.
“She tried to help her daughter by getting her out of Guatemala, and she blames herself, she feels she’s powerless now to help her daughter,” Cambria said.
Nonetheless, she said, detention is better than the persecution she and her daughter face in Guatemala.
Tens of thousands of people have fled Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras and arrived in the United States in the last few years – with a peak last summer – citing violence and growing poverty. The surge of last summer included many mothers and young children.
Political asylum in such a case generally would involve an argument that the immigrant’s government is unable or unwilling to protect the person from persecution.