Maribel Trujillo Diaz has four young US citizen children, aged 14, 12, 10, and 3. She’s the main breadwinner for her household and has lived in the United States for 15 years. She is undocumented, but she has no criminal convictions. Yet she is scheduled to be deported to Mexico today.
Trujillo was ordered deported in 2014, after she was caught up in a 2007 immigration raid at Koch Foods. In recognition of the impact her deportation would have on her children, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decided not to enforce the order and scheduled her for yearly check-ins under a supervision order.
But, as her immigration lawyer told me, at a check-in in March 2017, ICE said Trujillo was now a priority for removal under the Trump administration’s new guidelines and fitted her with a GPS-ankle bracelet. On April 3, her attorney, Emily Brown, began the legal process to reopen hearings because Trujillo fears she will be harmed by drug cartels that have threatened her family if she returns to Mexico. ICE said to come back in on May 1.
Two days later, ICE agents arrested Trujillo outside her house near Cincinnati, Ohio, and she awaits deportation in a detention center in Louisiana. Her husband told reporters that their 3-year-old “wakes up during the night asking for her mother.”
As of 2014, about 900,000 people with deportation orders from an immigration court had not been deported. Often this is because immigration authorities recognized their many ties to the community and opted to make better use of enforcement resources. Now, people like Trujillo, who check in with immigration authorities regularly, are “low-hanging fruit” for the Trump administration, said Brown. “The reason these people are on orders of supervision is that they have compelling circumstances that make them good candidates for discretion,” she told me. “Her family is really going to struggle without her. It’s going to be really hard.”
Trujillo’s deportation punishes her US citizen family, now facing a devastating separation. The Trump administration is asking for increased funding for immigration enforcement. Congress shouldn’t authorize that money as long as it seems destined to be put towards such senseless and inhumane enforcement.