Jeanette Vizguerra, released from ICE custody, vows to keep fighting for herself and others

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Vizguerra and daughter.
Surrounded by friends and advocates at a sunny park in Aurora today, immigrant Jeanette Vizguerra celebrated a victory: She was released yesterday from the immigration detention center where she'd been held since July 24. But her fight to remain in the U.S. isn't over. Federal authorities have given Vizguerra a stay of deportation until January, at which time they've told her she must return to her native Mexico.

The mother of four isn't about to give up, though -- not on her case or on the cases of other parents like her.

"The lawyer says that there's nothing more to do," Vizguerra says through an interpreter. "But I believe that there's always something to do, that the fight doesn't end. The fight doesn't end to try to stay with your family."

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Melanie Asmar
Vizguerra (in the black T-shirt) and her supporters speak to the press today.
Vizguerra and her family -- which now includes three citizen-children ages nine, seven and two -- first came to the United States from Mexico looking for a safe place to live. According to a documentary in which Vizguerra tells her story, her husband was held up by gunpoint three times while working as a bus driver in Mexico.

Here, the couple owned a moving and cleaning company. But the income wasn't enough, especially since Vizguerra's husband was diagnosed with cancer and the family had medical bills to pay. So Vizguerra took on more jobs, sometimes working twenty hours a day. It was when she was leaving one job and on her way to apply for another that she was pulled over. The officer's first question to her was, "Are you legal or illegal?"

Vizguerra fought her deportation case, which included a series of delays and ended in an appeal. While she was waiting for the appellate process to play out, her mother became terminally ill and Vizguerra decided to visit her in Mexico. She was caught by border patrol agents as she was crossing back into the United States this past April.

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Vizguerra speaking at a rally for another immigrant on July 10.
She was held in a detention center in El Paso, Texas until her lawyer convinced officials with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to release her under supervision. Vizguerra says she was so happy that she cried tears of joy on the bus back to Colorado. But when she went to meet with the officer who was supervising her here on July 24, she was arrested without explanation and put back in detention.

Vizguerra's many supporters sprung into action. They organized a group to go to U.S. Senator Michael Bennet's office and ask him to write a letter of support for Vizguerra. They protested in front of the GEO Detention Center in Aurora and they launched a hunger strike. They also staged an overnight vigil at the ICE field office in Centennial "to tell them that business as usual won't happen if their business is deporting and separating families," says community organizer Judith Marquez.

Yesterday, federal immigration authorities released Vizguerra from detention -- something advocates credit to the overwhelming support from the community and the attention her case generated. She says she was told that she'd be placed on supervision until January, at which point she figures she'll be taken into custody again and deported. But she doesn't know for sure what will happen, and she's fearful that she could be arrested again without explanation before then.

"I hope that immigration reform moves forward so perhaps I could benefit from it and remain here," Vizguerra says. "The fight will continue -- perhaps not with my case, but with the many more people that are in my situation. We have to fight for them."

Those people include Alfredo Carrillo, a father of three whose thirteen-year-old daughter and twelve-year-old son were at the park today to speak to the media about their father's case. "My dad is an honest man," twelve-year-old Oscar Carrillo told the small crowd of reporters and television cameras. "He's not a criminal. He just comes to work."

Continue for more from the children of Alfredo Carrillo.


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18 comments
Nathan Espinoza
Nathan Espinoza

if she's such a hard worker why didn't she focus her efforts on going through the legal process to avoid these issues and become a citizen. sounds like her priorities we're obviously screwed up

Mile_Hi_Dave
Mile_Hi_Dave

Send Carillo back to Mexico!  Let him know if he returns and is caught, he will not be around to see his children grow up!  Instead he should be put in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail for 10 years, working on a damn chain gang.  Maybe then he will get the damn hint!

These people are nothing but trespassers!  Bring our men and women home from the wars overseas and put them on the border to stop the invasion!!

Mile_Hi_Dave
Mile_Hi_Dave

She is NOT an immigrant, she's a damn trespasser and the sooner she and her litter leave, the better!!  Like cockroaches invading a house, these illegal invaders come here and multiply, hoping their children's legal status will keep them here! 

There should be NO APPEALS of an immigration hearing, only immediate deportation, via the swiftest way possible, is the only RIGHT answer!!!



Steph Bell
Steph Bell

no! definitely not. jeanette is an important part of our community (as many immigrants are), and i am invested in her staying here and in all the work that she does to make our community a better place! calling people "illegals" for civil offenses is ridiculous, as white non-immigrants, such as myself, never get defined as such no matter how many civil AND criminal offenses we commit.

Green_eyes
Green_eyes

I really don't know how I feel about this..... I think it's sad that she would be separated from her children, but I also feel that if she had a duty to enter the U.S legally.... If she's been living here for some time and had several jobs then I blame the Americans who hired her for the immigration problems we have now, we can blame the illegals all we want but in the end it's American who created this problem by hiring "cheap labor".

Nandoboom
Nandoboom

Mexicans have been struggling for too long. It is time for the United Sates to invade Mexico and run the activities of the country. When conquered, America should do some fixing to the economy, get rid of the drug cartel and invite all Mexicans to come back home. Good things are coming! http://t.co/kzRbfOe2GT

Gil Henry
Gil Henry

Where do you draw the line? I draw it at the border.

Pam Stiffler
Pam Stiffler

Getting knocked up shouldn't be the path to staying here. Period.

CloudGang
CloudGang

So......this woman not once but twice, entered this country illegally, was housed and fed, AND is still here? What nice people those Americans are.....the Mexicans must think!

Michael Sabin
Michael Sabin

Yes, Its the law...they should be working on all the illegals in the country....

Stephan Reuchlein
Stephan Reuchlein

They should be doing their job and that includes deporting mother 3 with your illegally then that's their job.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

We'll keep the respectful ones.  Send the loud-mouthed radicals home to complain about their own freaking country.  

Mile_Hi_Dave
Mile_Hi_Dave

@Green_eyes Do we allow the children of a bank-robber to keep the money??  NO!  These people need to be immediately deported!  The children, that are citizens because they were born here (damn 14th Amendment!), should be made to go with their parents, after receiving a U.S. birth certificate, which they can use to come back, once they are 18 and old enough to decide for themselves!

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@Green_eyes Although jobs are one reason some cross illegally, the most compelling reasons include free schooling, free medical, free food stamps, free legal, subsidized housing,no income taxes (unless they steal an identity), etc., etc.  Some even figure out how to get SSI and/or federal refunds for dependent children etc.  

Additionally, there are now many people crossing illegally for nefarious purposes.

So, you are right not to blame the immigrant (except for the terrorists, gang members and drug dealers).  The blame goes directly to the US government.     

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@beau.p.laurence @fishingblues    As you very well know, If you were born in the US or are otherwise a legal resident, you can say pretty much whatever you care to, regardless if you consider it radical or not.

Can you give me a harder one next time?  

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