Activist Cecilia Figueroa-Figueroa has spent the last six years in the United States volunteering to help immigrants, but after all of her arduous work, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, plans to deport her. She illegally entered the country six years ago and now may be deported to where she was born in Guerrero, Mexico. Figueroa-Figueroa had chosen to leave Mexico due to extremely dangerous levels of crime; today, Mexico’s crime rates are still exceedingly high, if not higher than when Figueroa-Figueroa originally left.
In the years she devoted to helping immigrants, Figueroa-Figueroa served as a vocal community activist and organized many valuable local events. However, even after all of her service, her case is still complex and will be difficult to win.
Figueroa-Figueroa had worked over many years to become a legal citizen. She had received her work permit and had started working for Comunidades Unidas, a large nonprofit organization in northern Utah. Nevertheless, after many costly attorneys, many applications, and unfortunate complications, Figueroa-Figueroa was ultimately denied a Permanent Residence Card and detained by ICE. They demanded that she return to Mexico in early September, but she resisted due to a strong fear for her safety: Figueroa-Figueroa has family members in Guerrero that have been killed or kidnapped, and if she returns to Mexico, it is likely that she will also face similar dangers.
Figueroa-Figueroa’s case will most likely be denied; she will likely be forced to ultimately return to Mexico. Nevertheless, she hopes that her circumstance will inspire beneficial discussions and change in current American immigration policies.