It has been about five days since Omar, Kimberly and AJ Arellano Cruz have seen their mother Adriana Arellano Cruz, who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers Thursday on a final order of deportation.
“ICE has been separating thousands of immigrant families across the country leaving many kids without their parents,” said Kimberly Arellano Cruz at a press conference Monday. “I never thought I would be the one going through this.”
Cruz’s attorney, Hardeep Sull, was granted a stay of removal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Monday afternoon, temporarily halting the deportation that was scheduled for Tuesday, but Cruz still hasn’t been released from the detention center.
Omar Arellano Cruz, 21, Kimberly Arellano Cruz, 16, and AJ Arellano Cruz,12, along with immigrant rights groups, are speaking out against immigration policies they say hurt families, as they work to get ICE to release their mother.
“No family deserves to be separated,” Kimberly said. “Too many families are being separated and going through these hardships. My immigrant community should not be criminalized. Immigrants are people with families who deserve to be protected.”
Whether it’s President Trump calling for large-scale ICE raids that were supposed to take effect over the weekend, canceling President Obama’s Executive Order known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, limiting migrants from Central America from seeking asylum, or separating families at the border and detaining children in reportedly inhumane conditions, immigration advocates have called the administration’s policies cruel.
Southern Nevada was not on the list of metropolitan areas ICE was expected to carry out raids.
However, Victoria Ruiz Marin, a DACA recipient and immigrant rights activist, said that immigrants are still being subjected to harsher ICE enforcement locally. The Cruz’s story is just the latest example.
“They are not the only family going through this in our city,” she said. “The attempt to terrorize these communities have direct consequences of families and children. That includes U.S. citizens.”
In addition to calling on ICE to release their mother, immigrant rights groups are also asking elected officials to respond.
“It’s time for elected officials in Nevada to do something,” Marin said. “We hope that as we continue to amplify what’s happening there will be a response and (elected officials) will take some sort of action.”
Adriana Arellano Cruz worked for Caesars Entertainment for years before she lost her work permit. She then worked cleaning people’s homes and even earned spare money on the side as a Zumba instructor.
Six years ago, she was pulled over by the police for an outstanding warrant for unpaid traffic violations. After being detained at an ICE detention center in Henderson, she was released.
She thought her former attorney had been working to resolve her case, and according to her children didn’t know a deportation order had been issued until she was picked up on Thursday.
“We just want to bring our mom back home so we can be a family again,” Kimberly said.
Adriana’s detention and possible deportation isn’t the only obstacle the children are now facing.
Omar said his mom was on the way to pay rent on the day she was detained. Because of the missed payment, the three are also facing an eviction.
“We are trying to find someplace new to live,” he added. “Our mind can only focus on how to bring our mom home. Our mom is all we have.”