CLINIC decries the cruel deportation of Ohio mother; Countless supporters disregarded by government | CLINIC

CLINIC decries the cruel deportation of Ohio mother; Countless supporters disregarded by government

Apr 19, 2017

SILVER SPRING, Maryland – Despite a massive public effort to plead for mercy on her behalf, Maribel Trujillo Diaz was deported to Mexico today. Her forced removal from the country she has called home for 15 years is a crushing blow to her four children, husband, extended family and a nationwide community that has worked tirelessly on her behalf.
 
“Our hearts are broken, along with Maribel’s, her family’s and those of the thousands of people who have spoken up to try to reverse the government’s absurd and heartless insistence on removing this valuable member of American society,” said Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., the nation’s largest network of nonprofit immigration legal services agencies.
 
“The result of this hard-nosed and hard-hearted approach to enforcement is that her U.S. citizen children must either live without their mother or leave the only home they have known to go a country they have never even visited, where there is physical danger and none of the support systems they have in Ohio,” Atkinson added. “This makes a laughingstock of our nation’s ‘family values.’”
 
Maribel still has a pending application to reopen her appeal for asylum in the United States, based upon the ongoing threats to her family from a violent drug gang in Mexico that led her to flee in 2002.
 
Maribel was the primary income-earner in her household, as well as an active member of St. Julie Billiart Parish in Hamilton, Ohio. Her pastor and fellow parishioners have long championed her efforts to remain in the United States, first with a letter-writing campaign and then by reaching out to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the Ohio Catholic Conference, CLINIC and other local and national organizations. The hashtag, #FreeMaribel became a social media rallying cry, resounding around the country for the past two weeks, after she was picked up by ICE on her way to work, just two days after she was told at a check-in that she was free to go for another month.
 
Under the Obama administration, people who had lived in the U.S. for years and had had no brushes with the law were not considered a priority for deportation. The Trump administration’s new executive orders changed enforcement priorities, making all undocumented immigrants at greater risk for deportation despite the devastating effect that has on families and communities.
 
“Maribel’s situation illustrates how urgently our country needs fair and just immigration laws and policies,” Atkinson said. “When wrenching harmless families apart becomes the go-to policy of an administration that is desperate to prove how ‘tough’ it is, our country has lost its heart and forgotten our immigrant origins.”
 
Nearly a million immigrants in the U.S. have been issued final deportation orders. Many have, like Maribel, been in the country for many years and have U.S. citizen children. The cost to the government of each deportation in 2016 was nearly $11,000, according to ICE, not including the financial and emotional devastation to the families of people who are forced back to countries they no longer know.
 
CLINIC joins Maribel’s family, St. Julie Billiart Parish and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in thanking partner organizations and the thousands of individuals who pleaded with members of Congress, the White House and the Department of Homeland Security on her behalf. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and its two U.S. senators, Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, joined the advocates in urging her release.