A pregnant mother of five facing deportation will get to stay in North Carolina for at least another year.
Lilian Cardona learned last week that her application for a stay of her removal from the country was approved. This buys her a year of relief from deportation while she applies for a visa.
Cardona, who has lived in North Carolina since 1997, has no criminal record and a valid work permit. She was issued an order of removal in 2011 after her landlord took her to Wake County court in a dispute over the mobile home she lived in. The charge was ultimately dismissed.
But, under expanded immigration enforcement policies of the Trump administration, she was subject to deportation
. At a routine ICE check-in in February, she was told to return with her bags packed the next month, or be removed from the country by March 31.
Photo by Sarah Willets
Cardona hugs her daughter Kayli before her ICE check-in March 16.
In asking for her deportation to be delayed, attorneys presented a letter from Cardona's doctor saying she is being followed for pregnancy complications ahead of her May due date and cannot travel.
She is applying for a U-visa, which is reserved for victims of crime. It can take up to two years for a U-Visa application to be approved. Attorney Pooyan Ordoubadi says no reason was given for why Cardona's stay was approved.
Violence and low wages forced the Cardona family to leave Guatemala. Cardona, along with her sister, came to North Carolina when she was thirteen. Her mother was already here, and her father and brother came about a year later.
The state and Harnett County chapters of the NAACP rallied around Cardona, starting a petition against her removal.