Woman in Las Cruces fears being separated from young daughter as deportation looms

Woman in Las Cruces fears being separated from young daughter as deportation looms. (KFOX14)

Holy Cross Retreat Center in Mesilla has taken on another undocumented immigrant seeking sanctuary from immigration laws.

Martha Lorena Rivera prays at the retreat’s church for her family and other in her situation.

“I came here undocumented,. I risked everything for my children,” Rivera said. “I came here with the hope that they would have opportunities and they made the most of it. Because of that, I don’t regret coming over.”

Rivera got an official order of deportation in October, despite not having a criminal history.

She said she requested time to get her affairs in order. She had a 9-year-old daughter in school and no one to pick her up.

“That whole week was stressful for me, thinking what I was going to do, where I was going to go with my daughter, what I was going to tell her,” Rivera said.

She decided to call Johana Bencomo, with Comunidades en Accion y De Fe.

“For mothers like Martha, to be here seeking this kind of sanctuary says so much, making this kind of decision says so much of about the current political state in our country and how scared people are, Bencomo said.

Bencomo said places of worship, hospitals and schools are usually protected from immigration customs enforcement.

“I do wonder about the moment when ICE decides to break down the doors of a sacred worship place,” Bencomo said.

Rivera has two adult children, one with citizenship and the other with protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

She worries about her youngest daughter, whom she doesn’t want to leave without a mother.

“I thought about leaving her with someone but it’s cruel to leave her with someone. She isn’t used to being away from me. She’s little,” Rivera said.

For now, all Rivera can do is pray. She’s got a constant reminder of her immigration status in the form of a monitoring device she wears on her ankle.

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