On New Year’s Day 2011, Sara, an immigrant from Ecuador and a hardworking mom living in New York City was at a bus station in Rochester on the way home from visiting family over the holidays. When Sara got on the bus, she was approached by three border patrol officers who asked her for identification. Since she was unable to show federal ID, they ordered Sara to get off the bus and get into a border patrol vehicle, where she was handcuffed while her 6-year-old daughter, an American citizen, watched helplessly. After the incident, Sara was given a notice to appear before a deportation judge.
As a result of watching her mother taken away in handcuffs, Sara’s daughter has been suffering from nightmares and severe anxiety. Her daughter has been under the care of a psychotherapist and is afraid that the “police” are going to come again and take her mother far away from her. She has trouble sleeping and eating. She weighs only 35 pounds.
Sara has kept on fighting for her family and has appealed to ICE three times for relief under the new prosecutorial discretion policy. Under the new policy, immigrants who have close ties to the community and do not pose a threat to public safety or otherwise fall under one of the agency’s priorities are favored for an exercise of discretion. Yet Sara has been denied three times with no explanation by ICE.
ICE claims Sara doesn’t fit the profile for prosecutorial discretion. This is Sara’s profile:
“I am an honest hard working single mom, who lives within the Christian principles, struggling everyday providing my daughter, who has health issues. I work to take care of my daughter and I used to send money home to my 97-year-old disabled adoptive mother, who had only one leg, until she died a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t go to her funeral or even say goodbye to her.” – Sara Martinez
Since Sara came to the United States, she has paid her taxes, learned English, and been involved in her community. Sara simply wants to give her daughter a better life than she has had. Sara herself was abandoned by her biological mother at three months old, suffered sexual abuse in her childhood, and physical and emotional abuse for 20 years of her marriage.
Sara cannot return to Ecuador, where there is little hope for a decent future for her daughter and no opportunities for her to provide for her daughter’s needs.
Please take action by signing this petition to ICE Director John Morton demanding that Sara stay in the United States with her daughter.