Oakland nurse and mother of four, Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, and her husband have lived in the United States for over two decades, but they do not have legal status. Under a federal deportation order, the couple and their youngest child, Jesus, 12, will be flying to Mexico City on Wednesday, August 16.
Mendoza-Sanchez received a call on Tuesday afternoon from Senator Dianne Feinstein. Praying that Sen. Feinstein’s call would bring good news in the 11th hour, Mendoza-Sanchez answered the phone with hopes that her family could remain intact.
Unfortunately, Sen. Feinstein apologetically told Mendoza-Sanchez that immigration authorities had denied the request for a stay and there was nothing more she could do. Mendoza-Sanchez, her husband, and Jesus, a United States citizen by birth, will have to leave the United States and make a new home in Mexico.
Their three daughters, ages 16, 21, and 23, will stay behind in the United States. The two older daughters will raise their younger sister, ensuring she completes her final two years of high school. The two younger daughters are U.S. citizens and the oldest daughter is protected by DACA status.
Immigration attorney, Carl Shusterman, represents the family. He termed Tuesday’s denial of the stay request a “tragedy.” ICE officials refused to make an exception for Mendoza-Sanchez and her family because, “if they did, they would have to make an exception for other people, too.”
Maria Mendoza-Sanchez is a nurse at Highland hospital in the oncology and cardiology wing. Her husband, Eusebio Sanchez, is a truck driver. Neither Mendoza-Sanchez nor her husband have a criminal record.
According to an immigration expert, the denial of the stay reflects a shift in the government’s deportation approach. When cases received high levels of media attention and local political involvement in the past, ICE would shy away from the negative publicity and alter their response. Santa Clara University School of Law professor, Pratheepan Gulasekaram, says that ICE “is sending a message with this removal…Everybody is potentially a target.”
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