Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox confirms that twenty-three-year-old Durham resident Wendy Miranda Fernandez—a former Riverside High student who fled gang violence in her native El Salvador as a fourteen-year-old unaccompanied minor—was deported this morning and is now in El Salvador, which her supporters say might amount to a death sentence.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed unlawfully present Salvadoran national Wendy Miranda-Fernandez May 26 pursuant to a final order of removal issued by a federal immigration judge in August 2016,” Cox said in a statement. “Ms. Miranda was removed after receiving all appropriate legal process before the federal immigration courts.
“ICE continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security. However, as Secretary Kelly has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt entire classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All those in violation of immigration law may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”
In other words, even though Miranda Fernandez had no criminal record, posed no threat or danger to anyone, had a fiancé and a decade’s worth of roots here, and came to the U.S. to escape a gang that President Trump himself has labeled a public enemy, immigration authorities decided to detain her, ship her to a prison in Louisiana, hold her for months, and put her on a plane back to El Salvador, just because.
Hell of a system we’ve got here.
“For weeks, my staff and I worked with ICE officials on Ms. Miranda-Fernandez’s behalf,” U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield said in a statement. “Through that work, my staff and I were able to delay Ms. Miranda-Fernandez’s removal for several weeks in the hope that her motion before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) could be fully considered. That motion remains pending before the BIA. Her removal, despite Ms. Miranda-Fernandez not having the opportunity to exhaust all her legal options, is extremely disheartening.”