Photo provided by the family of Cristina Rodriguez-Sagarnaga
Immigration authorities deported a Colorado woman who has lived in the United States since she was 5-years-old and has three U.S. citizen daughters, after she arrived for a scheduled check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents last week.
ICE agents arrested Cristina Rodriguez-Sagarnaga, 30, a Mexican national, on Wednesday, at the regional ICE field office in Centennial. She was removed to Mexico on Friday, said Carl Rusnok, ICE spokesman.
She had requested a stay of removal to stop her deportation order while she waited for a response on her mother’s request for a U-Visa, said Jennifer Piper, the American Friends Service Committee, which advocates for people living here illegally. Victims of crime and their immediate family members who have suffered substantial abuse, are eligible for the visas.
Both women have been domestic violence victims, Piper said.
Rodriguez-Sagarnaga entered the country illegally, Rusnok said Sunday. In 2012, a federal immigration judge in Denver granted her voluntary departure to Mexico, and when she failed to leave, the judge’s order became a final order of removal.
ICE granted her a one-year stay of removal on June 20, 2016. She requested another stay, which ICE denied on Tuesday, without informing her lawyer, Piper said.
ICE is detaining undocumented immigrants when they come for routine check-ins, Piper said. “When you have final orders, and a check-in, there’s no good options.”
Rodriguez-Sagarnaga went to the check-in to show good faith, she added. “She said, I don’t want to hide, I don’t want to take my daughters into hiding. This is the only country I know.”
She has three misdemeanor criminal convictions in Colorado, Rusnok said.
“She and her ex-husband had a son together, and she was calling police to report abuse of her son and they didn’t respond,” Piper said. “The next time she called, she said he was beating her.”
That call led to her being charged for false reporting, Piper said.
“She agreed to a plea in that case, even though it was weak,” Piper said.
Rodriguez-Sagarnaga is now in Juarez with an aunt. Her family has created a gofundme page to help support her children.
“I want to see my mom,” her 4-year-old daughter, Dariana, wrote in a message sent to President Donald Trump and Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly.
“Yesterday, my dad came home in his truck and I ran to the window to see if he brought my mama, but he couldn’t. I don’t sleep because I miss mama. I love her. I belong to her and my papa and we need her.”