ICE arrests mother of 3 during routine check-in, slates her for deportation

/ CBS News

St. Louis — A 48-year-old married mother of three was taken into custody by ICE agents Tuesday after she reported to the downtown office for what she thought was a routine check-in. Ilsa Guzman entered the United States illegally in 1999, crossing the border into California, reports CBS St. Louis affiliate KMOV-TV.

She voluntarily reported to federal agents at the time and requested asylum, which wasn't granted. However, she's attempted to follow the law, wearing an ankle monitor and reporting for routine check-ins.

Guzman, who's lived in the St. Louis area since 2000 and married a U.S. citizen last year, has no criminal record and has paid taxes for each of the three jobs she's worked, according to her attorney.

"Go after the real criminals, leave my wife alone. She did what she was supposed to," said her husband of just over a year, Steve Miller.

Steve Miller and Ilsa Guzman in undated family photo KMOV-TV

Her check-ins have usually been with a contractor for ICE, but she was told to report to the field office Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Guzman and her lawyer, Evita Tolu, arrived for the appointment and agents told Tolu they needed to speak to Guzman. They took her behind closed doors and she never returned.

When the agents came back, they had Guzman's personal effects in a bag.

She's now scheduled for deportation back to Honduras this week.

Guzman's husband filed a petition seeking permanent residency for her shortly after they married, but that petition is still pending. Tolu said Guzman's residency would have been resolved within six months if Tuesday's events hadn't happened.

If Guzman is deported before the petition is approved, Tulo said, there's no chance of her returning to the United States.

Tulo has filed emergency paperwork to delay Guzman's deportation.

ICE later released a statement saying its agents arrested Guzman "based on an outstanding final order of removal (deportation order) issued by a federal immigration judge on Jan. 26, 2000.

On Oct. 21, 2014, ICE officers encountered Guzman-Fajardo in St. Louis as an ICE fugitive (person with a final order who never left the U.S.) and took her into custody. ICE released her from custody on an order of supervision based on humanitarian reasons. In December 2018, a federal immigration judge denied her motion to reopen her case. As a result, she was taken into custody, and she remains in ICE custody pending her removal to Honduras."

First published on February 13, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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