This week, an immigration judge dismissed the deportation order against 21-year-old DREAM Act-eligible Jennifer Lopez after a campaign on Change.org garnered almost 40,000 supporters.
The campaign was started by Manuel Guerra of Students Working for Immigrant Rights. Manuel is a fellow Dreamer who successfully fought his own deportation on Change.org and had never met Jennifer in person.
Student activists say that under recent guidelines issued by the Department of Homeland Security, Lopez did not meet the criteria for deportation because she had no criminal background, was brought to the country as a young child, and continued to care for two critically ill and handicapped siblings, both of whom are U.S. citizens.
“Today is one of my best days ever,” said Jennifer Lopez, upon learning that her deportation would be canceled. “I know that this would not be happening without the help of Manuel Guerra and my lawyer Richard Hujber, organizations like Students Working For Immigrant Rights and United We Dream, and all the people who took their valuable time to read and sign my petition on Change.org.”
“I'm very grateful for the opportunity to stay here with my family who needs me,” Lopez continued. “They are everything to me. I hope to support people like me fighting to keep our families together.”
Guerra gathered thousands of signatures, mobilized a social media campaign, and successfully pressured Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release Jennifer from detention prior to the cancelation of her deportation. The campaign on Change.org was covered by CNN en Español, ABC, and CBS.
DREAMer Jennifer Lopez needs our help right now. She is a Florida resident and Dream Act-eligible youth who Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is trying to deport as we speak -- even though she has never committed a crime and was brought to the U.S. as a young child.
Jennifer was threatened with deportation after her mother and she were pulled over in a routine traffic stop in Palm Beach county, where she lives with her younger siblings -- who are U.S. citizens with health problems that require Jennifer's ongoing care and attention. Immigration officials let Jennifer's mother go because she was recently able to attain resident status that Jennifer could not be included in because she had "aged out" of the visa process (a painful experience that throws many immigrant youth into legal limbo when they turn 21).
Now, Jennifer's family and legal counsel are calling out for help after she was taken into DHS/ICE custody and threatened with the possibility of deportation away from her mother, siblings, and future in this country.
Like DREAMer Manuel Guerra, Jennifer should not be a priority for deportation under the new ICE/DHS guidelines. Instead, she should be granted a type of status that allows her to contribute to the country she calls home. Jennifer has lived in the U.S. for a decade and completed high school through a GED program in order to help her mother and siblings.
In fact, Jennifer's deportation would be doubly devastating -- not only would it cut her dreams and future plans short, it would rip her away from a family that depends on her care. Jennifer's younger sister, Ashley, a 5-year-old U.S. citizen, has been diagnosed with a blood clot, requiring her to be in observation for 3 months in the hospital, and to wear a special "boot" to get around. Her brother, also a citizen, appears to be losing his vision. Jennifer's mother has been diagnosed with a tumor in her knee, which required knee reconstruction. On top of all of this, Jennifer and her mother have NO criminal record and have been paying taxes for more than 8 years.
Jennifer's legal counsel says, "I just got off the phone with Jennifer, who was in tears. It is heart-breaking to hear her fear and desperation. I spoke to the ICE officer arresting her, and he said he has "no discretion" and it is "mandatory" that she be taken into custody, even though she is a DREAM Act candidate, caring for 2 younger siblings with serious medical prob's, no criminal record, and a bright future in this country."
If you agree that Jennifer should stay in the U.S. with her family, please sign the petition and spread the word by sharing it on Facebook.