Curt Prendergastm, Arizona Daily Star, December 11, 2018
A federal judge in Tucson on Tuesday ordered the deportation of Alejandra Pablos, a well-known immigration- and reproductive-rights activist.
Speaking to a courtroom packed with Pablos’ supporters, immigration Judge Thomas Michael O’Leary denied Pablos’ asylum request and ordered her removed from the United States. Pablos said she plans to appeal the decision.
Pablos, 33, feared she would be targeted for persecution in Mexico, where abortion is largely illegal and activists she knows have received death threats.
She testified she was born in Nogales, Sonora, but was brought to the United States as a baby and eventually became a legal permanent resident.
“I’ve been living here since I was a baby, and Arizona is the place where I’ve grown up and learned how to fight for our rights,” Pablos, who is not in custody, said in a news release after the hearing.
Pablos’ immigration status was put in question as a result of several criminal convictions from 2005 to 2010, including a DUI, endangerment, aggravated DUI and solicitation to possess a dangerous drug.
Pablos told O’Leary the offenses came during a turbulent time in her life that involved changing schools, the suicide of her best friend’s brother and falling in with a bad crowd. Pablos said she wished she could “take it all back.”
After serving two years in a detention center in Eloy and seeing women in far worse circumstances , she said she underwent a “complete transformation” and started her political activism.
He acknowledged Pablos was a “public figure” and “never truly lived in Mexico,” but he denied her asylum claim as well as her request made under an international convention against torture.