Wendy Miranda-Fernandez, a twenty-three-year-old Durham resident taken into custody last month by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was still detained as of Friday evening. She had been scheduled to be deported from the country today.
Miranda-Fernandez, who attended Riverside High School, had been planning to marry her fiancé of more than one year when she was taken into custody during an ICE check-in on March 22.
Miranda-Fernandez came to the United States in 2008 when she was fourteen years old after witnessing a murder outside of her home in Barrio El Calvario, El Salvador. As an unaccompanied minor, she was allowed into the country but the Board of Immigration Appeals in June 2014 denied her application for asylum. She was issued a final removal order in August 2016, according to ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox.
Miranda-Fernandez's attorney, Nardine Guirguis, says her client was issued several stays of her removal from the country and that her most recent stay was unexpired when she sought a renewal last month. Cox, however, says the stay expired March 10.
Alerta Migratoria NC
Cynthia Martinez, a paralegal at Guirguis Law, said there was confusion Friday about Miranda-Fernandez's location. An online ICE detainee locator system showed Thursday night that she had been moved from Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia to LaSalle Detention Center in Louisiana, but when the law firm called that facility, staff said she was not there. Martinez said a detainee at the Irwin detention facility reported she had been moved back there.
A LaSalle employee told the INDY
that Miranda-Fernandez was still at the facility at five p.m. Friday. Martinez said Miranda-Fernandez has not called the law firm today, despite "multiple messages" left for her at LaSalle.
"We’ve been trying to figure something out to give her family some peace of mind," Martinez said.
Guirguis has filed a motion to reopen Miranda-Fernandez''s case, along with a new asylum application, and a request for an emergency stay. There was no news on those items Friday evening.
Guirguis says Miranda-Fernandez could be killed if she returns to El Salvador. According to Alerta Migratoria NC, the murder she witnessed took place after her brother refused to join Mara Salvatrucha, more commonly known as MS13.
"Her brother and entire family fear the bloodiest of retributions resulting from his insubordination and unwillingness to take arms with the Mara Salvatrucha," the advocacy group said in a statement. "The United Nation’s Homicide Reports show El Salvador has become the world’s most violent country outside a war zone."