After spending a month in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center housed in the Henderson jail, Adriana Arellano Cruz was offered release on $5,000 bond from an immigration court judge.
That left her three children, Omar, 21, Kimberly, 16, and AJ, 12, scrambling to secure the money, which they hope to have by Tuesday morning in order for their mother to be released and finally come home.
In an emotional day in court in front of immigration judge Ann McDermott, the Cruz family sat for hours and waited to hear whether their mother would come home.
Appearing on the screen in a telecast hearing — defendants aren’t brought into the courtroom, but instead answer questions from the detention center via video chat — Adriana Cruz sat composed until she saw her children. Seeing all three, even through a monitor, she began to wipe away tears and then blew them a kiss.
“She looks skinny,” the kids said, noting her weight loss since her detention.
The children, along with their immigration attorney Hardeep Sull, have been fighting to get Cruz released ever since she was detained in July. Even though the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted a stay of removal July 15, temporarily stalling her deportation, she has remained in jail.
In a statement issued last week, ICE said Cruz would wait in custody pending the official outcome of her immigration case, but didn’t elaborate on why.
Not long after she was detained, Cruz’s children, all U.S. citizens, were evicted from their home. They were able to obtain a new apartment with the help of community donations and Latino engagement groups like Mi Familia Vota.
Cruz was originally picked up on a traffic violation in 2011, where she was handed over to ICE. She was then released on bond.
In court Monday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security argued that Cruz violated the conditions of her bond after failing to show up for a court appearance, resulting in a deportation order in 2017.
Sull questioned whether her client was properly notified of the court appearance or the 2017 deportation order. “If ICE really thought (Adriana Cruz) should have been in custody, shouldn’t that have happened a long time ago?” she asked.
Because Cruz is the sole custodial parent for the three children — Omar received power of attorney over his younger siblings following his mother’s detainment in order to keep the family together — Sull argued she should be released. “On a humanitarian level, I don’t think it’s worth keeping her incarcerated,” she added.
Typically bail provisions do not apply in immigration cases, meaning the family can’t go through a bail bondsman. They are relying on a GoFundMe account they had set up to to collect donations after they were evicted, and also plan to reach out to family members.
Though the children are relieved they could be reunited with their mother soon, they still worry some other complication could jeopardize her release. Sull stressed the importance of getting the money as quickly as possible in case the government appeals the decision, which could delay the bond and Cruz’s release.
“I think (the hearing) went as good as we could have expected it,” Omar said. “I hope they (ICE) don’t try to pull anything.”