Wendy Miranda Fernandez, a Durham resident unexpectedly taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in March, has been taken to the airport for the third time since being detained, according to the advocacy group Alerta Migratoria NC. Her deportation, delayed several times since she was detained while seeking a stay of a 2016 order of removal from the country, is scheduled for 8:05 this morning.
If she’s sent back to El Salvador, her supporters say, it could amount to a death sentence. As Alerta Migratoria explained a press release last night:
At the age of 14, Wendy fled El Salvador after witnessing a murder outside of her home by Mara Salvatrucha members. In spite of the trauma, Wendy persevered and graduated from Riverside High School. … The Trump Administration has made the Mara Salvatrucha its Public Enemy No. 1, stating that the criminal organization is one of the gravest threats to American public safety. Attorney General Sessions has acknowledged that the MS-13’s mission is to kill, rape and control. Rape and death is the fate that awaits Wendy in El Salvador.
According to Alerta Migratoria, Miranda Fernandez’s fiancé called early this morning to report that an inmate at the LaSalle Detention Facility in Jena, Louisiana, had said she was taken to the airport. The same thing happened last week as she faced removal, family members say, but she was ultimately returned to the detention facility. (As of 7:58 a.m., ICE’s online detainee locator system had her location still listed as Lasalle.)
Miranda Fernandez, a former Riverside High School student, fled gang violence in El Salvador at age fourteen, coming to the United States as an unaccompanied minor. Her subsequent application for asylum in the U.S was denied. Her attorney has filed a new application for asylum and reopened her case seeking a stay of deportation.
Daniela Hernandez Blanco of Alerta Migratoria says that the office of U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield, who was instrumental in helping Durham teenager Wildin Acosta avoid deportation last year, has been in contact with ICE on Miranda Fernandez’s behalf, but “they aren’t budging.”
The INDY will update this story as more information becomes available.