An immigration activist who protested against U.S. deportation policy has now been deported.
Rocio Hernandez Perez, 23, was put on a plane back to Mexico on Tuesday, with no reasons given. But a lawyer for the activists says the reason is obvious — to send a message.
“The clear message from [the Department of Homeland Security] is: don’t try this again,” said David Bennion, lawyer for the group of undocumented immigrants calling themselves the Dream 30.
The protesters were all brought to the U.S. as children, but are technically undocumented immigrants. Under the proposed “Dream Act” bill, they would be allowed to stay in the country as legal residents and pursue their citizenship.
But that law itself is still just a dream. The protesters are asking to return to the country where they grew up. They were not in the country last year when the administration announced that, even without the Dream Act, it was changing its own immigration policy to allow children who grew up in the U.S. to remain as residents if they meet certain conditions.
On Sept. 30, the group which was actually 34 strong, walked across a bridge from Mexico into Laredo, Texas, and surrendered to immigration authorities. They requested political asylum, claiming “credible fear” of persecution in their home country.
The “Dream 30” protest took place just a few weeks after another group, called the Dream 9, did the same thing. But all nine of those protesters were granted asylum and allowed into the United States.
Of the second group, according to Bennion, 16 were allowed to go ahead with their asylum applications and nine were denied. Bennion says that number of refusals is far higher than the usual 9 percent denial rate.
While many of the group still sit in a Texas detention center, Hernandez Perez was shipped out before Bennion even knew what was going on.
There was no reason given for why she was deported. According to her mother, the woman’s aunt and uncle have already been kidnapped by drug cartels, and she faces a life of constant fear back in Mexico.
“[Coming back to the United States] was her only chance for surviving, without having to hide and run,” her mother said. “My heart dropped, and I kept asking, ‘Why is this still happening to us?’”
Sources: The Guardian, Fox News Latino, Latin Times