SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – A undocumented Utah mother of four who is scheduled to be deported is going public with her fight to stay here.
Her name is Maria Santiago Garcia and she describes herself as an orphan and a sexual abuse survivor who escaped the violence of her native Guatemala for a better life here in Utah where she’s raising two sons and two daughters ages 11 to just 3. Now she’s targeted for deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Amy Dominguez of the organization Unidad Immigrante helped organize to rally to support Garcia Thursday at the Utah State Capitol.
“Here she has been in the United States in Utah for 14 years contributing,” Dominguez told ABC4 Utah News. “Her kids are U.S. citizens. They have been going to school here their entire lives. Utah is all they have known so it’s heartbreaking, it’s heart wrenching and it’s difficult to see that this is a reality for a lot of families.”
Utah 2nd District Senator Jim Dabakis attended the rally on the Capitol’s south steps.
“How many people are going to go? Hard working family people,” Sen. Dabakis said. “How many children are not going to have parents to satisfy what? What’s the upside? This is an outrage.”
ICE can allow undocumented immigrants like Maria to stay in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons but new policies under a new President have them routinely denying humanitarian appeals like Maria’s.
“This is a disgrace to the United States of America,” Sen. Dabakis said. “The President said he was going to throw out the drug dealers and he was going to throw out the criminals and look where this lands. This is a disgrace.”
Maria’s 9 year old daughter says she wants to be a doctor. She provided the most emotional moment of the evening.
“I don’t want my mom to get deported cause I want to have a mom by my side,” the little girl said through tears. “So she can see me when I be a doctor and when she’s sick I can cure her and protect her.”
Organizers are urging people to call the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Salt Lake City Field Office at 801-886-7400 to protest Maria Garcia’s deportation.