LOS ANGELES—Maria Christina Rubio was allowed to work legally for more than three years, but when she showed up for an appointment to renew her work permit in immigration offices this past July 16, she was deported to Mexico, despite being eight months pregnant. Ten days later, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denied a request that would have allowed the pregnant woman to return to the U.S.
On Friday, July 16, Rubio went to renew her work permit at immigration offices. Unfortunately, officials found in her file that she had been deported in 1997, thus her presence on American soil was in violation of the previous order, which led authorities to deport her to her country of origin, Mexico.
“The first time she was deported, she did not have her documents because her papers were being processed,” said Rubio’s husband, Juan Carlos Sanchez. He maintains that Rubio had to leave for Mexico because her mother was seriously ill, and when she attempted to return to the U.S., she was deported.
According to Sanchez, when his wife was finally able to return to the U.S., she was able to obtain her work permit without any problem. “Immigration allowed her to work since 2001, and she had to renew her permit every year, but this time, immigration told her that she had been deported before, and they took her to Tijuana,” said Sanchez.
Rubio, 30, was transported by bus to Tijuana on July 16, according to the civil rights lawyer, Luis Carrillo. Although Carrillo asked that Rubio be allowed to return to the United States for humanitarian reasons, ICE denied his petition.
The attorney contended she had previously experienced complications with her pregnancy, and should be allowed to continue care with her current doctor. Also, he argued that since Rubio’s unborn child is far enough along to survive outside the womb, he is already a U.S. citizen, and should not have been deported.
However, ICE representative Virginia Kice disputed Carrillo’s claims. She said that when Rubio was told she was going to be deported, neither she nor her then-attorney, who was contacted by phone, made any objections based on her pregnancy.
But according to Rubio’s husband, the attorney who was handling her legal case was not able to show up that day because he had other obligations, and instead, sent a substitute in his place who knew nothing of Rubio’s case. “My wife called me at two in the afternoon and said she was being detained by immigration officials. Then, she called me at 4 p.m. and told me she was on the bus. Her last call was at 6 p.m.,” said Sanchez.
For her part, Kice added that “no one ever expressed concern about her health.” To ensure that she was well enough to travel, Rubio was examined before her deportation, Kice said.
The ICE representative also disputed Carrillo’s claims that the fetus is a citizen, citing the 14th amendment, which states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” are citizens. Kice said that means unborn babies are not granted citizenship.
Carrillo said the actions of immigration officials earlier this month showed a lack of compassion for Rubio’s condition. “The laws are very harsh, and they lead to separation of families,” Carrillo said. “They should have had compassion that Friday and never put her on that bus … they should have told her to come back Monday with her attorney.”
Rubio already has two daughters, Christine, 11, and Citlalli, 5, both U.S. citizens, who are now being cared for by Rubio’s sister, according to Sanchez.