Dear John Morton, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Janet Napolitano, Director of Homeland Security,
We write as representatives of the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights, with support of our county officials, to request that you stop the deportation of Lourdes Salazar Bautista (A# 075-414-900), a beloved mother and member of our community.
In June 2010, Lourdes was in the driveway of her home getting ready to drop her daughter off at school when she was surrounded by ICE officers who proceeded to arrest her. Despite having a U.S. citizen brother who had petitioned for Lourdes, she was detained and kept in custody for a month. Lourdes was issued an order of deportation and needs to present herself to ICE officials with a one-way ticket to Mexico, a country she hasn’t been to in 14 years.
Lourdes came to the United States in 1997 with hopes of creating a better life for herself and her husband. Soon after her arrival, she became pregnant with the couple’s first daughter. The couple now has three U.S. citizen children ages 13, 9, and 7 who need Lourdes to stay in the United States with them. Lourdes’ husband was deported back to Mexico in 2010 leaving Lourdes as the sole provider and parent of these children. If she is deported, she will be separated from her 3 children and they will grow up without their mother or father.
Lourdes is an exemplary mother and member of our community. She has owned her house in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for over ten years and attends church regularly. Lourdes’ three children are well-adjusted in school, but they are so traumatized by their father’s deportation and possible deportation of their mother that they have needed therapy to help them cope with the difficult situation. Lourdes’ 9 year old daughter suffers from ADD and needs to take medication on a regular basis. If Lourdes is deported, her daughter won’t be able to receive the medical attention she needs.
In a recent announcement on August 18, 2011, the President stated that Department of Homeland Security is implementing Prosecutorial
Discretion in cases involving families like Lourdes’. Lourdes has 3 U.S. citizen children, a U.S. citizen brother who has petitioned for her, and she has lived in the United States for 14 years with no criminal violations. According to the new guidelines, Lourdes is not deemed a priority for removal by DHS and merits a favorable exercise of discretion. We ask that you immediately take action to stop the deportation of Lourdes so she can stay in the United States with her children and community.
We also ask that you ensure that DHS and ICE act according to the new guidelines President Obama announced in August for prosecutorial discretion. So far, we have seen no changes in the Detroit and surrounding area. Since March of 2008, our organization has documented 310 calls from immigrant families facing immigration issues (a minority of the families actually affected). Over 80% of these cases involve the detainment and/or deportation of more than one person resulting in hundreds of US citizen children in our community being separated from parents and relative providers. We are aware that the Department of Homeland Security’s own statistics reveal that over half of the record 400,000 people deported in 2010, had no criminal history at all.
Please stop the deportation of Lourdes Salazar Bautista as she deserves prosecutorial discretion, and in addition, work to reduce these types of deportations across our nation.
We would be happy to meet with you or talk with you or your staff further about this request at your convenience.
Thank you very much.
Co-founders of the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights