Court declares deportation case of Fairfield mother deserves a second look
Photo courtesy of Crystal Ortiz | After ordering her deportation in April 2017, the Federal Board of Immigration Appeals is being forced to reconsider giving Maribel Trujillo Diaz asylum because of changing circumstances. The case became a part of the national conversation around U.S. immigration policy last year.
A three-judge panel in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that the Federal Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) should reconsider the evidence presented in Maribel Trujillo Diaz’s deportation case.
The Fairfield mother of four was deported to Mexico last April. Her case attracted national attention for several reasons, including the safety of the 3-year-old epileptic daughter she had to leave behind, her lack of criminal record and the debate surrounding U.S. immigration policies.
The case now moves back to the BIA. The process could take up to two months, according to the Enquirer.
Her appeal was based on fear of drug cartel activity in her hometown of Michoacán, Mexico. In February 2017, she learned that members of the drug cartel known as Knights Templar had kidnapped her father and threatened other family members, including Trujillo Diaz. According to a sworn statement from her father, the kidnappers said they knew both she and her brother had fled to the U.S. and threatened to go after them.
Because her previous petitions for asylum was rejected, this appeal had been based on the “changed circumstances” of the kidnapping. The board rejected the appeal, stating that Trujillo Diaz had not provided adequate evidence that she personally was threatened by returning to Mexico, according to the Enquirer.
However, the federal court ruled that the BIA “failed to credit the facts stated in Trujillo Diaz’s declarations” that she feared for her safety. Furthermore, the ruling states, the board “abused its discretion” by rejecting the appeal, meaning that it had failed to adequately analyze the new evidence.
Kathleen Kersch, one of Trujillo Diaz’s lawyers, spoke to her after the ruling. She told the Enquirer that Trujillo Diaz felt “vindicated” that her fears were now being taken seriously.
Although the case still has to go through the BIA once again, Kersch said it was “significant” that the federal court found the evidence “compelling” enough to warrant another consideration.
Other supporters praised the ruling and expressed hope.
“This decision gives us a glimmer of hope that, someday soon, this family could be made whole again,” said Tony Stieritz, the director of Catholic Social Action for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. “We reiterate our plea for mercy for Maribel, urging the administration to consider her asylum case as well as the will of the community that wants to see Maribel’s family reunited.”
By: Ellen Siefke ~Managing Editor~