The fate of a Utah woman's residence lies in the hands of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Maria Santiago Garcia came to the United States 14 years ago not only in search for a better life but for an escape from violence and abuse. Over a decade later, she is now faced with deportation to Guatemala and may be forced to leave her children behind.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Santiago Garcia is a single mother of 4 and supports her family by selling tamales. Her children, ages 11, 9, 5 and 3 depend on their hard-working mother to support them in everything they do – as any child should. Despite her family, the Utah resident received orders to pack her bags and book a flight back to her country of origin by the end of this month. When she first made the move to the U.S., she was allowed a temporary stay through a special visa assigned for victims such as herself. She was a victim of violence and sexual abuse throughout her youth in Guatemala.
“I know they say that people who cross the border are criminals, but that‘s not who I am,” said Santiago Garcia in an interview. “I’m a mother who’s fighting for my family.”
It was highlighted that her record has a minor misdemeanor from 2015. She was convicted of a class A misdemeanor for the obtaining or assisting in obtaining an identifying document of another person. This pales in comparison to a fraction crimes that have been highlighted in today's news.
She and her family were accompanied by about 30 protesters who stood outside of the ICE office – a place she often frequently checked into. While fighting back tears, the mother-of-4 asked her company to contact government officials and support her stay in the states.
It is up to them to decide if she will be able to stay in the comfort of her home in America or be forced to live with nothing in Guatemala.