U.S. children speak out against detention, pending deportation of mother

mom on ice
From left to right Omar Arellano Cruz, Kimberly Arellano Cruz, and AJ Arellano Cruz,along with activist Victoria Ruiz-Marin at a press conference. Monday. The Cruz's mother was recently detained by ICE. (Photo: Michael Lyle)

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.”

Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Heidi Harrass , right wing AM 670 talk radio host t, said it was the persons fault for not taking care of her parking tickets.

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