Despite checking with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, Francisca Lino, an undocumented immigrant, who lives outside Chicago, was told last week that she would be deported.
Lino has lived in the United States for 18 years and has checked in with immigration officials for the past 12 years. She used a fake visa 18 years ago to try to cross the U.S. border from Mexico. The immigrant first tried to enter the United States in 1999 when she hired a human smuggler, who gave her a visa. However, she said she was unaware of the fact that it was fake.
Recently, she had her first meeting with the officials since President Donald Trump took office.
The 50-year-old, mother of six children, four of who were born in the U.S., hoped for a miracle while making her journey to the ICE office.
“Now that Trump is president, it worries me," said Lino.
Lino, her three youngest daughters and husband Diego Lino made their way to the ICE office. They never knew what fate had for them ahead.
“I don't feel like anything is going to happen today. I feel like we'll all come home," said Britzy Lino.
“It's just a very heavy feeling. It just feels like something that's weighing down on me. It's just scary (thinking) that the only person that's going to walk out is my father, that my mom is going to stay back, and I don't know anything at the moment because she's inside and I'm outside, in the waiting room,” she added.
At her meeting with ICE officials, at first she was told she could stay in the U.S. for another year.
“Thank God! Thanks to all of you! They gave me a year until I have to come back. So we're going to try to fight for my visa,” she said.
However, her joy was short-lived as she was called by the officials again and was told to return to Mexico by July 11.
"I couldn't breathe. I was choked up. I couldn't talk at all. I just couldn't breathe. It's not fair that they do that to us, that they tell us, 'Oh, you have a year,' and then they just say, 'Oh no, you have a few months.' It's not fair," said Britzy.
Democratic Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez visited the regional offices of U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement in Chicago for a meeting to discuss Trump administration’s recent crackdown on deportations.
However, instead of providing Gutierrez and his team — which included fellow lawmakers, activists and immigration lawyers — with satisfactory answers, the authorities escorted them out of the building in handcuffs.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Lucy Nicholson