The wife of a former US Marine tearfully said goodbye to loved ones Friday before she boarded a flight to Mexico, ending her battle to fight deportation.
US Rep. Darren Soto, a Florida Democrat who represents the district where the woman lived, had introduced legislation to stop her deportation.
The Davenport resident has no criminal record but faced a removal order over her 1998 illegal entry into the United States, Soto said. She’s married to a former Marine and Iraq War veteran, and they have two girls, ages 8 and 16, who are US citizens.
Soto said he’s disappointed by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s decision.
“Our local community has also stood with the Juarez family during this traumatizing experience, from schoolteachers to church members and supportive neighbors. It is a sad day for our entire community as we will all be affected by this insensitive deportation order,” Soto said.
Soto had sought a stay of removal for Juarez under the parole in place program. The option, which US Citizenship and Immigration Services says is granted on a case-by-case basis, allows members of the armed forces, veterans, enlistees and their families to stay in the United States.
“Alejandra deserves to stay in the country she has called home for over 20 years,” Soto said in a statement. “The Juarez family deserves to stay together in the United States.”
In a statement, ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said Juarez was initially apprehended and removed from the country after attempting to enter illegally from Mexico in 1998. He said she later illegally reentered the United States after being removed – which is considered a felony under federal law.
ICE arrested her in August 2013 and notified her that the earlier removal order was being reinstated, according to the statement.
“ICE subsequently exercised temporary discretion by releasing her on an order of supervision and granted her temporary stays of removal in August 2015 and August 2016,” the statement said. “At this time, Juarez must comply with her removal order and depart the US.”
CNN’s Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.