Hortencia Aguirre Verduzco (Alien # 073722407) was issued a removal order by Judge J. Dan Pelletier, Sr. on May 8, 2012. Hortencia is currently being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the North Georgia Detention Center in Gainesville, GA.
Hortencia Aguirre Verduzco is an extremely deserving immigrant who is in desperate need of your support and intervention.
Hortencia has gained overwhelming support from her friends, neighbors, coworkers, local community members, town mayor and even Federal Judge Malcolm Jones Howard who read Hortencia’s story prior to sentencing her in April and based on her exemplary character and honorable background, went outside of the judiciary guidelines to end her sentence immediately.
The honorable Judge Howard clearly saw what we all see: Hortencia is not a criminal. Despite this, she has been held in detention for over 6 months.
Hortencia arrived in the United State legally via visitor’s visa in 1992. She did not speak English. Eager to begin her new life in this great land of opportunity, Hortencia quickly sought out a lawyer to assist her with gaining legal permanent residence. She paid a great deal of money for this legal assistance and was unfortunately seriously misled by the attorney she entrusted. Hortencia fell victim to her own naivety and incompetence when her lawyer knowingly misrepresented her by submitting false information on her behalf. Based on the documents presented to her by her attorney, Hortencia signed papers listing her birthplace as “Malacatan, Guatemala”, a town only 15 miles east of the area in Mexico where Hortencia was actually born and raised. This new information about her birthplace did not raise red flags for Hortencia, as her mother and father were both former residents of Guatemala, and the birth record keeping in that time period was very limited, at best.
Confident that she now possessed valid and legal immigration documents, Hortencia went about her life in Fort Pierce, Florida. She worked on a farm picking oranges, then in a packing house boxing oranges. Even while suffering extreme reactions to the farm’s pesticides, Hortencia worked long and grueling hours to pay for the legal assistance her immigration status required.
Life seemed to be going well for Hortencia, however the man in Florida whom she had come to love and marry was subjecting her to daily physical and emotional abuse. Hortencia bravely escaped the abusive marriage.
Things were looking up until August 22, when ICE raided her home.
Hortencia was confused and dumbfounded. Hortencia was now aware that her immigration documents had been invalid the entire time and she was in fact an illegal alien. The stunning realization was compounded when Hortencia was arrested and charged with a felony on October 31, 2011. A former victim of domestic violence and having lived alone with her young daughter, Hortencia previously obtained a small firearm as a safety precaution. Although the gun was never used and had been legally obtained by applying for a permit at her local sheriff’s department, Hortencia’s newly discovered illegal status was all that was needed to turn this innocent possession into a federal crime.
Because U.S. law states that a felony has occurred if an illegal alien possesses a weapon, whether or not he or she was aware of their illegal status, Hortencia was advised by her attorneys to sign a plea agreement accepting the federal charges in an effort to shorten her prison sentence and hasten the time in which she is reunited with her child.
As Hortencia sits alone day after day, separated from her dear daughter Enid and all that she knows, there is no light at the end of her dark tunnel. When she is finally allowed to step out of those jail doors and breathe in the fresh air, she will not be going home. There will be no joyous homecoming celebration. Hortencia will be deported. Cast off to a country where chance, not choice, birthed her: A country full of crime and violence, devoid of the rich opportunities she worked so hard for in the United States.
Worst of all, Hortencia will be faced with the awful choice no parent wants to imagine: Leave behind her most precious possession, her sweet innocent child; or take her young daughter to Mexico and away from the safety, security and opportunity of the United States.
We urge you to carefully examine the details presented in this letter and to visit our website www.saveenidsmommy.com to read Hortencia's personal testimony.