Maribel Trujillo Diaz, the Butler County mother of four who'd been battling an imminent deportation order, has been sent back to her native Mexico.
Attorney Emily Brown with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) says Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials notified her about the move late Wednesday morning.
ICE, in a statement to WVXU, confirms the deportation was carried out.
"We had filed one last request for prosecutorial discretion from ICE," says Brown. "Many community members, faith leaders, (and) elected officials had also contacted ICE asking for them to exercise discretion in this case. And, unfortunately, ICE decided not to do so."
Brown says she and ABLE are outraged by ICE's actions. "If they are willing to separate a mother with no criminal record from her four American-born children, then it appears that ICE will just target anyone and everyone that they can."
ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls says the agency did excercise discretion by allowing Trujillo Diaz "to remain free from custody with periodic reporting, while her immigration case was pending."
He adds that her "immigration case underwent review at multiple levels of our nation’s legal system and the courts uniformly held that she had no legal basis to remain in the United States. In 2014, the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed her legal appeals and she became subject to a final order of deportation."
Trujillo Diaz still has a pending asylum request and Brown says she and others will continue working on that motion before the Board of Immigration Appeals.
"We will continue to litigate that motion, and depending on the result, possibly appeal that as well. If she does succeed in getting her case reopened then we would be strongly urging ICE to allow her to come back to the United States at that point. Although, there is no guarantee that they would have to do that."
Brown says it could be up to several months before the board makes a decision.
Through their attorneys, the Trujillo Diaz family is thanking those who have advocated on their behalf. "Maribel and her family and all of us have been incredibly heartened by the outpouring of support by the community, from faith leaders, from people in Southwest Ohio but also around the country who have really stood up and said that this case is an example of the misguided and cruel nature of Trump's immigration policies."
Maribel Trujillo Diaz came to the U.S. without documents in 2002. She'd been meeting regularly with ICE officials since being caught up in a raid on a food plant where she worked. A final deportation order was issued in 2014, but under the previous presidential administration, officials had not moved forward.
Her case garnered widespread attention after she was picked up by ICE officials unexpectedly two weeks ago and scheduled to be deported. Last week, a three-judge panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled her emergency appeal for a stay of deportation was moot, effectively clearing the way for the deportation to move ahead.
While awaiting a decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Trujillo Diaz was moved from Butler County to Morrow County in central Ohio; and then to a federal detention center in Louisiana. She was in Louisiana when sent back to Mexico.
As for her four children, ICE previously told WVXU:
For parents who are ordered removed, it is their decision whether or not to relocate their children with them. If parents choose to have their U.S. citizen child(ren) accompany them, ICE accommodates, to the extent practicable, the parents’ efforts to make provisions for their child(ren). As practicable, ICE will coordinate to afford detained parents or legal guardians access to counsel, consulates and consular officials, courts, and/or family members in the weeks preceding removal in order to execute documents (e.g., powers of attorney, passport applications), purchase airline tickets, and make other necessary arrangements prior to travel.
Both of Ohio's senators advocated on Trujillo Diaz' behalf.
Following her deportation, Sen. Rob Portman says in a statement, "We explored every avenue and worked to find a solution, including getting the facts from her attorneys and presenting relevant information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Bureau of Immigration Appeals. I'm disappointed that the case could not have been resolved in a manner that keeps this family together."
Sen. Sherrod Brown told WVXU last week he personally called ICE asking the agency to reconsider her case. On Wednesday, he decried the situation again saying, "Leaving four innocent children without their mother is not the way to fix our broken immigration system."