An undocumented Utah mother of four was deported on Christmas Day.
Immigration reform advocates gathered at the Salt Lake International Airport on Monday night to protest the removal of Maria Garcia to her home country of Guatemala. She’d been living in the U.S. for 15 years. Her four children, who are U.S. citizens, left with her.
“It was very difficult," said Amy Dominguez with Unidad Inmigrante, one of the groups that organized the airport demonstration. "It was completely and absolutely soul crushing, devastating, truly a terrible and unforgettable Christmas.”
Garcia had applied for a stay of removal last month but was rejected by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
In a statement, Garcia said she was afraid for her children, who range in age from 3 to 11. They’ve never lived anywhere outside of Utah.
“I can’t even describe how I feel about my kids going to Guatemala,” Garcia said. “I am afraid. I am fearful that something bad will happen to them."
Dominguez says her organization is currently working with two other Utah families who may face the same outcome.
“It’s a question of why is this administration targeting families in this way? These are the ‘criminals’ that are being targeted, and they are mothers, brothers, uncles," said Dominguez.