One immigrant family will get a very special Christmas wish this year. Leticia Morua, a mother of three American born children was placed in deportation proceedings in March 2010 after a minor traffic violation. “I didn’t care about anything. I just kept thinking that I didn’t want to be separated from my children,” she said. “I was worried about the state taking my children away.” Thanks to an immigration judge’s request for “cancellation of removal,” Morua is now a legal resident.
Undocumented immigrants can qualify for cancellation of removal if the following conditions are met: (1) they have lived in the country for 10 years continuously, (2) they have no criminal record, (3) they are a person of good moral character (4) and the deportation would result in exceptional and extreme hardship to a US citizen or permanent resident who is a spouse, child or parent. Morua has an 11-year-old daughter with a medical condition that requires her care at all time. If she were deported back to her hometown in Mexico, healthcare would not be something she would be able to afford for her daughter.
Morua is one of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were placed under deportation proceedings under Secure Communities. This is a program that carries out Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) goals of removing “criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety, and repeat immigration violators.” The program uses an information sharing system between the FBI and ICE that identifies undocumented immigrants that pose a threat to the community and arrests them. “46 percent of 3,023 people who were booked into immigration custody under Secure Communities between Nov. 24, 2009, and July 25, 2011, were never charged with, or convicted of, the crimes for which they were arrested. Another 29 percent were charged with one misdemeanor, which in many cases stemmed from traffic violation, like Morua’s, before being taken into immigration custody, the Reporter’s investigation found.”
Unlike many the other immigrants that had deportation proceedings, Morua is able to stay with her family. “This has been like a Christmas gift,” she said. “We can celebrate Christmas together.”
If you have questions regarding applying for a visa, need help with deportation proceedings, or have other inquiries about immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.