Immigrant Rights News – Monday, June 09, 2008
IRN and other NNIRR posts are at: www.nnirr.blogspot.com
1. FronteraNorteSur: “Green Industry Maquiladora Unveiled”
2. Los Angeles Times: U.S.-born children feel effects of immigration raids
3. New York Times: “States Take New Tack on Illegal Immigration”
4. Common Dreams: Apartheid's Global Face: From South Africa to the United States
5. Wavy.Com: Struggle continues for mother facing deportation
June 8, 2008
Green Industry Maquiladora Unveiled
In this US election year, politicians of all persuasions talk about “green” jobs as the wave of the future. But while the US whittles away time in making the inevitable transition to a fossil fuel-free economy, German investors on the Mexico-US border now have a jump-start on their Yankee competitors. Ironically, to gain an edge in the emerging green economy, they are taking advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement originally promoted by the US government.
At a ceremony in the Mexican White House late last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon praised the news that a German firm, Q-Cells, will open a large solar cell factory in the Baja California border city of Mexicali.
The maquiladora, which President Calderon said could create 4,500 direct jobs and 13,000 indirect ones, will manufacture cells used in the generation of solar energy. In addition to production workers, the manufacturing facility will employ engineers and technical specialists.
Significantly, Q-Cells’ plant will be the first tenant of the new Silicon Border Science Park in Mexicali, a 10,000-acre industrial park founded by veterans of the US high-tech industry and built with the support of the Baja California and California state governments.
“We have been working diligently to bring advanced manufacturing to this region,” said Silicon Border CEO Daniel J. Hill, “and with this decision from Q-Cells, this initiative is now becoming a reality.”
According to a press statement from Silicon Border, Q-Cells, known as the world’s largest solar cell manufacturer, will have a strategic launching pad in Mexicali because of the border city’s close transportation links to US markets, the existence of Mexico’s 43 free trade agreements with other countries and tax and financial incentives offered by Mexican state and federal governments. Anton Milner, Q-Cells chief executive officer, called the Silicon Border location “ideal” for his company.
Baja California Secretary of Economic Development Jose Gabriel Posada Gallego said that Q-Cells decided on locating a large production unit in Mexico after “analyzing competitive options in other countries.”
Construction of the factory is expected to begin later this year, with the target opening date set for late 2009. Q-Cells long-term investment in the project could reach an unprecedented $3.5 billion, depending on how sales go with US and Latin American customers. The construction end of the project will need 1,200 workers or more and utilize 100,000 cubic meters of concrete, according to Fernando Maiz, head of the construction firm developing Silicon Border.
For President Calderon, the landing of Q-Cells represented not only another foreign investment coup, but an important milestone in Mexico’s entry into the global green economy as well. At this stage of the game, though, it’s unclear how many of Q-Cells’ Mexicali-produced solar cells will actually wind up being used in Mexico as opposed to simply being exported to other nations. Information about wages that will be paid the Mexicali workers or how much the solar cells will sell for abroad was not immediately available either.
Sources: La Voz de la Frontera (Mexicali), June 7, 2008. Article by Nancy Vasquez. La Jornada, June 6, 2008. Article by Georgina Saldierna. Silicon Border, May 27, 2008. Press statement.
Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news Center for Latin American and Border Studies New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico
For a free electronic subscription email firstname.lastname@example.org
Los Angeles Times
U.S.-born children feel effects of immigration raids
Federal agents say they try to act humanely when a parent is arrested, but advocates charge that youngsters are often traumatized and are sometimes left without supervision.
By Anna Gorman
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 8, 2008
Yesenia Rangel, 12, looked out her window on a Friday morning in February and saw several officers with the letters "ICE" on their sleeves.
Yesenia immediately called her neighbors to warn them that immigration officers were outside their Compton apartment building. Then she watched in tears as officers handcuffed her father and took him away.
During the three weeks he was detained, Yesenia said, her schoolwork suffered and she could barely sleep.
"I thought, 'I'm never going to see my dad again,' " said Yesenia, a U.S. citizen by birth.
As federal authorities expand immigration enforcement in California and throughout the nation, teachers, mental health professionals and immigrant rights advocates are raising concerns about the effect on children like Yesenia who are U.S. citizens.
Last month, a California congresswoman held a hearing on the raids' consequences for children.
"The administration must take the necessary steps to ensure that these raids are conducted in a humane fashion and they are protective to kids, not harmful," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma).
During the hearing, an elementary school principal from the Bay Area city of San Rafael, testified that local immigration raids in 2007 traumatized children and resulted in high absenteeism and low test scores.
National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia testified that immigration agents instilled fear among children by conducting enforcement operations near public schools and Head Start programs. The Latino civil rights organization released a report last year that found several children were left to fend for themselves when their parents were detained.
According to the report, about 5 million children in the U.S. have an undocumented parent and two-thirds of those children are U.S. citizens.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say they strike a balance between enforcing the law and humanitarian issues that arise during enforcement.
Last year, the agency worked with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) to set new humanitarian guidelines for large work-site raids and to consider making special arrangements for certain people who are arrested, such as nursing or pregnant mothers or immigrants who serve as sole caregivers to children or seriously ill relatives.
They also issued a memo directing agents not to take children into custody if they are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents and instead try to coordinate care with child welfare authorities.
Spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the federal agency goes to extraordinary lengths to address family concerns. But once an immigration judge has determined that a person does not have a legal right to be in the United States, the agency is going to carry out the judge's order, she said.
"They have violated our laws," Kice said. "It's no different than if they have violated other laws. There are consequences for that."
Advocates who favor stricter controls on immigration said illegal immigrant parents -- not the government -- are to blame.
"The impact on their children is their responsibility, not ours," said Barbara Coe of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform.
Ron Prince, an anti-illegal-immigration activist, said he sympathizes with the children but that the government cannot make exceptions for families. "By not enforcing our law, we encourage people to break it," he said.
But advocates and psychologists maintain that arresting parents in front of children and detaining and deporting them is unfair to children. They argue that the immigration guidelines are not sufficient and are not followed consistently.
"The children have rights," said Oswaldo Cabrera, who has started a program in Los Angeles called Adopt an Immigrant to symbolically adopt illegal immigrants and to promote legislative reform. "All children have the right to be protected."
Marlies Amarca, a clinical psychologist in the San Fernando Valley who has testified as an expert witness in Immigration Court, said she frequently sees children whose parents have been arrested by immigration authorities. The children often have nightmares and separation anxiety and frequently fall behind in school, she said.
"It's a very scary situation," she said. "It has an effect on their school performance. It has an effect on their psyche."
Yesenia's father, Bulmaro Rangel, came to the country about 15 years ago and works cleaning houses. He and his wife, Maria Ramos, have four U.S.-born children ages 6 to 13.
Rangel, 38, said he was still in his pajamas and was getting the car ready to take his four children to school when immigration officers asked him for his name and his immigration status. They arrested him and went to his front door.
His wife, fearing that officers would arrest her too, refused to open the door and instead passed a change of clothes through the window.
"My instinct as a mother was stronger than my instinct as a wife," Ramos, 40, said. "I had to protect my children."
Even with her father released on bond, Yesenia said, she still worries that agents are going to return.
"What if immigration comes back for my mom?" she said. "What's going to happen to us?"
In another case, Yolanda Mendez, 12, called her father one day in March 2007 to tell him that her mother, an epileptic, was sick and that she needed help. But her father didn't arrive home.
"I thought something bad had happened to him," she said.
The family reported him missing and searched throughout the city. Three days later, Yolanda said, her father, Santiago Mendez, 39, called to tell them that he had been arrested by immigration officers during a traffic stop and that he was in a detention center.
Yolanda said she was relieved that he was alive but scared about him being deported. She and her 7-year-old brother began sleeping in their mother's bed. She didn't want to go to school. She wrote letters to her father daily.
Mendez was also released on bond after several weeks. But Yolanda said his arrest and detention were unfair to her and her brother.
"It's painful to us when they take our parents away from us," she said. "It's wrong."
New York Times
June 9, 2008
States Take New Tack on Illegal Immigration
By DAMIEN CAVE
MILTON, Fla. — Three months after the local police inspected more than a dozen businesses searching for illegal immigrants using stolen Social Security numbers, this community in the Florida Panhandle has become more law-abiding, emptier and whiter.
Many of the Hispanic immigrants who came in 2004 to help rebuild after Hurricane Ivan have either fled or gone into hiding. Churches with services in Spanish are half-empty. Businesses are struggling to find workers. And for Hispanic citizens with roots here — the foremen and entrepreneurs who received visits from the police — the losses are especially profound.
“It was very hard because the community is very small, and to see people who came to eat here all the time then come and close the business,” said Geronimo Barragan, who owns two branches of La Hacienda, Mexican restaurants where the police arrested 10 employees.
“I don’t blame them,” Mr. Barragan added. “It’s just that it hurts.”
Sheriff Wendell Hall of Santa Rosa County, who led the effort, said the arrests were for violations of state identity theft laws. But he also seemed proud to have found a way around rules allowing only the federal government to enforce immigration laws. In his office, the sheriff displayed a framed editorial cartoon that showed Daniel Boone admiring his arrest of at least 27 illegal workers.
His approach is increasingly common. Last month, 260 illegal immigrants in Iowa were sentenced to five months in prison for violations of federal identity theft laws.
At the same time, in the last year, local police departments from coast to coast have rounded up hundreds of immigrants for nonviolent, often minor, crimes, like fishing without a license in Georgia, with the end result being deportation.
In some cases, the police received training and a measure of jurisdiction from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under a program that lets officers investigate and detain people they suspect to be illegal immigrants.
But with local demand for tougher immigration enforcement growing, 95 departments are waiting to join the 47 in the program. And in a number of places, including Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, police officers or entire departments are choosing to tackle the issue on their own.
State lawmakers, in response to Congressional inaction on immigration law, are giving local authorities a wider berth. In 2007, 1,562 bills related to illegal immigration were introduced nationwide and 240 were enacted in 46 states, triple the number that passed in 2006, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A new law in Mississippi makes it a felony for an illegal immigrant to hold a job. In Oklahoma, sheltering or transporting illegal immigrants is also a felony.
It remains unclear how the new laws will be enforced. Yet at the very least, say both advocates and critics, they are likely to lead to more of what occurred here: more local police officers demanding immigrants’ documents; more arrests for identity theft; more accusations of racial profiling; and more movement of immigrants, with some fleeing and others being sent to jail.
“It is a way to address illegal immigration without calling it that,” said Jessica Vaughan, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports intensified local enforcement. She added, “They don’t just have to sit and wait for Washington.”
Police officers here in a handful of Gulf Coast counties from Pensacola to Tallahassee said they started hearing complaints about illegal immigrants last year. With the national debate raging and the local economy sagging, many residents began to question whether illegal immigrants were taking Americans’ jobs.
It did not show up in statistics — the unemployment rate in Santa Rosa County was 3.6 percent in 2007, below state and national averages — so the arguments focused in part on unfair competition.
Donna Tucker, executive director of the Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce, said illegal immigration “creates havoc within the system” because businesses that used illegal labor often did not pay into workers’ compensation funds and paid workers less.
“Those businesses can survive a lot longer than the ones that are trying to do things right,” Ms. Tucker said.
Some of the frustrations also veered into prejudice.
George S. Collins, an inspector in charge of the illegal trafficking task force in Okaloosa County, said many people wanted to know “why we weren’t going to Wal-Mart and rounding up the Mexicans” — a comment Mr. Collins said was racist and offensive.
Usually though, the complaints were cultural and legal.
Interviews with more than 25 residents and police officers suggest that the views of Harry T. Buckles, 68, a retired Navy corpsman, are common. Outside his home in Gulf Breeze, Mr. Buckles said the main problem with today’s Hispanic immigrants was that they did not assimilate.
Even after hundreds flowed in to rebuild Santa Rosa County, Mr. Buckles said: “They didn’t become part of the community. They didn’t speak the language.”
Echoing the comments of others, he said he became irritated when he heard Spanish at the Winn-Dixie and saw a line of immigrants sending money home at the Western Union. Mr. Buckles said he feared his community would lose its character and become like Miami, with its foreign-born majority and common use of Spanish.
“We see things nationwide and we know that we could be overwhelmed,” he said.
In fact, only about 3 percent of the population of Santa Rosa County is Hispanic, according to census figures compiled in 2006. As a proportion of its population, the Hispanic community here is less than half the size of what is in Omaha or Des Moines — mostly white cities where the Hispanic population is still below the national average.
Santa Rosa is hardly the only place to use a tough approach against a small immigrant population. In Mississippi, where strict laws on false documentation recently passed, only about 1.7 percent of the state’s 2.9 million people were born abroad and more than half of them are in the United States legally, according to estimates from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors tightening restrictions on immigration.
But here, the result is a divide often marked by a lack of in-depth interaction.
On one side are longtime residents like Sheriff Hall, who said immigrant laborers were not involved in fixing his office or home after the hurricanes, and Mr. Buckles, who said his relationship with Hispanics was based mainly on seeing them at stores or construction sites.
On the other side are a smaller number of immigrants and employers who use immigrant labor.
Some of the immigrants are newly arrived, sticking mostly to themselves. But the group also includes Antonio Tejeda, 38, a roofer and naturalized American citizen from Mexico who wears an N.F.L. jersey to church and speaks English with a slight drawl; and Ruben Barragan, 19, one of the workers arrested in one of the La Hacienda restaurant raids who, though illegal, spoke English and called his infant son Eric because he wanted him to have an American name.
When told about such men, Mr. Buckles said perhaps the government could find ways to create exceptions. But he was not convinced they deserved to stay.
“They got here illegally,” Mr. Buckles said. “They broke the law as soon as they came.”
The half-dozen officers involved in the Santa Rosa operations did not announce their arrival. They detained 13 workers at Panhandle Growers. At the two branches of La Hacienda the police quietly detained 10 workers without resistance. And at Emerald Coast Interiors, a boat-cushion factory, the police arrested a handful more.
Sheriff Hall said that his department received tips that led him to all the locations he visited and that he was responding to a steep rise in complaints about illegal immigration. He said he had been frustrated a year ago by a lack of response from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And this time, customs officials said, he did not contact the agency for input before forming a multicounty task force that led to the February operation.
Sheriff Hall said his men were focused on identity theft and did not need special training because “it’s the same thing we do every day.” He insisted that the officers treated everyone fairly. Unlike Bay County officers, who surrounded construction sites last year and arrested immigrants who ran, “we didn’t chase anyone,” he said.
And at many locations witnesses said the police treated all workers equally.
Managers at the restaurants Okki, El Rodeo, China Sea and La Hacienda said police officers checked all employees’ documents, regardless of their ethnicity.
But other business owners, employees and residents said the police focused disproportionately on Hispanics or the foreign born and seemed determined to scare immigrants out of the area. In many cases, employers said, the officers did not even mention identity theft, narrowing their scope to immigrants.
“They were targeting all the places with Hispanic workers,” said Elvin Garcia, 26, a waiter at El Rodeo.
At Red Barn Barbecue, witnesses said that skin color clearly influenced police procedure. When several officers visited and saw no one who was Hispanic in the kitchen, they moved on. “We offered to give them records, and they said, ‘No, it’s not necessary,’ ” said Randy Brochu, whose family owns the business.
Meanwhile, at Emerald Coast Interiors, three employees — one black, one white, one Hispanic — independently said the police did, in fact, chase a handful of Hispanic employees who ran. Three women, they said, were caught in a ditch behind the main building.
Luis Ramirez, the plant’s operations manager, said the officers asked to see documentation only for the workers who fled. “It was racial profiling,” Mr. Ramirez said.
His company has not filed a lawsuit, so his accusations have not been tested. But Florida courts have repeatedly held that flight alone is not enough to justify a suspicion of criminal activity or arrest. In Bay County, officials said they tried to avoid chasing people now because prosecutors have warned that it undermines their cases.
Even without a chase, immigrant advocates say that local efforts to track down illegal immigrants undermine community safety by scaring immigrants from reporting violent crimes.
“It’s a dangerous route to take,” said David Urias, a staff lawyer with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, which sued Otero County in New Mexico this year after the police raided Hispanics’ homes for minor violations like an unleashed dog. “What you’re going to see,” Mr. Urias said, “is more people pushed into the shadows.”
Indeed, three months after the sweeps, nearly everyone agrees that the fabric of this community has changed. Hundreds of Hispanic families, both legal and illegal, seem to have disappeared.
John Davy, a co-owner of Panhandle Growers, said some employers “treated their guys humanely” by helping them flee to other areas. “What we’re victims of is a system that’s broken,” he said.
Many residents said they felt torn between competing loyalties to compassion and the law.
“On one hand, I’m sitting here thinking when Ivan was here, you could not get enough people to do the thing that needed to get done,” said Mrs. Tucker at the Chamber of Commerce. “And these illegal aliens, people welcomed them with open arms because they were working hard, they were helping our community. But from a chamber standpoint, you’re operating on the side of the law. It’s a hard thing.”
In the immigrant community, fears now cloud the most basic routines. Many Hispanics said they avoided being seen or heard speaking Spanish in Wal-Mart, even if they live here legally. Others detailed their habit of meticulously checking their cars’ headlights, blinkers and registration to avoid being pulled over.
The message many Hispanics have taken from the raids is simple. “We’re Mexican — they don’t want us here,” said Erika Barragan, 20, whose husband, Ruben, came here illegally roughly six years ago and was one of 23 people scheduled to be deported after the February raids. She said she would go back to Mexico this summer.
Her husband’s employers, Geronimo Barragan (no relation) and his wife, Guilla, are trying to remain positive.
They are citizens and parents of four American-born children, ages 2 to 16. They have lived in Santa Rosa County for more than a decade, founding a Baptist church here and working 16-hour days, six days a week to build two restaurants known for their affordable food and Christian atmosphere, which extends to a ban on alcohol.
They said the raids came as a shock.
“We love the community, and we always tried to do our best,” Mr. Barragan said.
Mrs. Barragan put it more bluntly. “This,” she said, “is like our promised land.”
The Barragans said they did not know their workers were illegal because they provided Social Security numbers and other information that was required. Like most employers, they asked for nothing more.
They have not publicly opposed the sheriff’s actions, and in their effort to move on, they have distanced themselves from his critics. Mr. Barragan even visited Sheriff Hall at his office to tell him he had no hard feelings and would do everything he could to comply in the future.
And yet, the cost has been significant. Both of the restaurants were closed for more than two months. Only one has recently reopened.
Unable to find people in the area who can cook Mexican food, Mr. Barragan, 41, has been scouring the nation, recruiting in Houston, Chicago and Baton Rouge. He has yet to find all the workers he needs, relying on a handful of new hires with work visas that expire in November. He said he wished that Congress could find a way to bring more foreign workers to America legally.
For Mrs. Barragan, 39, a warm, thin woman with hair to her waist, the consequences have been more personal. On a recent Wednesday night, her church’s prayer service was half-empty. Many of her friends have left. And many of the employees that her family mentored in the ways of America are gone, taken away by the police.
“That’s what had the most effect on our lives,” Mrs. Barragan said, speaking in Spanish so she could be more specific. “Not closing La Hacienda, or ‘we’re not going to make money,’ or ‘how are we going to pay our bills?’ I personally didn’t think about that. It hurt me more to see them there — handcuffed. The way they went out.”
Her husband agreed, explaining between bouts of tears that some of the deported workers’ families had become victims of more violent crime. “One of them has a small daughter and someone robbed their house while he was in jail,” Mr. Barragan said. “Twice.”
Apartheid's Global Face: From South Africa to the United States
by Joseph Nevins
Fourteen years ago in May, Nelson Mandela assumed the presidency of a
democratic South Africa, marking the formal end of the transition from
Apartheid. But the shocking reports and images of the recent attacks
against immigrants in many of South Africa's main cities that have
left about 50 dead — some of them burned alive — show that apartheid
lives on: it is a global one, embedded in the very fabric of a world
order predicated on nation-states.
While the factors leading to the xenophobic terror are complex, they
are in significant part the result of the practices of the South
African state and its creation of a deserving "us" and a threatening,
foreign "them." Through its boundary fences and border patrols,
arrests and deportations of unauthorized migrants, and the justifying
rhetoric, South African officialdom has helped to create the very
"problem" that the violent mobs seek to eliminate. As Paul Verryn, a
Methodist bishop based in Johannesburg critical of South Africa's
leadership for not being more welcoming of migrants, has asserted,
"The locals believe they are doing what the government is doing
anyway, getting rid of the 'illegals.'"
South Africa, however, is hardly alone in fomenting cruelty toward
migrants; indeed, it does what all other nation-states do — especially
the most powerful ones — to varying degrees. And just as in South
Africa of old, where the state dictated where the majority of its
inhabitants (black South Africans) could live and work, contemporary
regulation of international mobility and residence results in
systematic violence and dehumanization.
Here in the United States, the last several years have seen a huge
increase in migrant imprisonment and detention, including of children
with their parents; a steep rise in workplace raids; and massive
growth of deportations of both legal and unauthorized residents. There
has also been a dramatic expansion of boundary enforcement. As such,
migrants must often literally risk their lives trying to enter the
country clandestinely. The result is frequently death.
Such fatalities occur across the globe, but it is the boundaries
between the so-called first and third worlds, the relatively rich and
poor, secure and vulnerable, that are deadliest. In the U.S.-Mexico
borderlands, approximately five thousand migrant bodies have been
recovered since 1994 when the Clinton administration greatly
intensified boundary policing. Similarly, along Europe's perimeter
many thousands have perished over the last decade trying to
clandestinely enter its territory.
Apartheid might seem like an inappropriate term to describe the
context in which such tragedies unfold given that there is no legally
enshrined racial segregation between the so-called first and third
worlds. Moreover, many third-world origin peoples have citizenship, or
live and work in countries throughout the West.
Yet all nation-states, especially wealthy ones, regulate mobility and
residence on, among other factors, the basis of geographic origins —
one of the foundations of supposed racial distinctions — thus limiting
the rights and protections afforded to migrants because of an
essential characteristic over which they have no control. Similarly,
Apartheid South Africa sought to both limit black mobility and make
certain that there was a sufficient supply of black labor in nominally
white areas, while denying those workers political rights and making
their presence conditional and reversible.
Our world is one in which the relatively rich and disproportionately
white are generally free to travel and live wherever they would like
or have the means to access the resources they "need." Meanwhile the
relatively poor and largely people of color are typically forced to
subsist where there are not enough resources to provide sufficient
livelihood or, in order to overcome their deprivation and insecurity,
to risk their lives trying to overcome ever-stronger boundary controls
put into place by rich countries that reject them. And if they succeed
in migrating, they must endure all the indignities and hazards
associated with being "illegal."
In a world of deep inequality between countries, national territorial
divides have profound implications: which side of a boundary one is
born on significantly determines the resources to which one has
access, the amount of political power on the international stage one
has, where one can go and under what conditions, and thus how one
lives and dies.
This is the essence of racism, and the nation-state system as well, as
it allows for double standards based on the assumption that some
should have fewer rights because of where they're from.
If such double-standards were undoubtedly wrong in Apartheid-era South
Africa, shouldn't they be equally wrong across the globe today —
wherever they may take place and whatever the justifications?
Joseph Nevins, an associate professor of geography at Vassar College,
is the author of the just-released Dying to Live: A Story of U.S.
Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid (City Lights Books).
Struggle continues for mother facing deportation
Posted: June 6, 2008 02:58 PM
Updated: June 9, 2008 02:50 PM
NEWPORT NEWS, VA. (WAVY.com) -- There is new information about a Newport News woman facing deportation from the U.S., and possible separation from her children.
Kathryn Ingleson has been living here legally for about 25 years, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are working to deport her over a $300 crime from more than a decade ago.
Now, several elected officials at the state and federal level are urging the Governor to grant Kathryn a full pardon, and at this point, that's her only hope.
"I have a travel date for August 14th," cried Kathryn, sitting next to her 9-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son.
She has a little more than two months before she will be forced to board a plane for England, leave the U.S. for good and possibly be compelled to leave her children behind.
"Very terrifying, knowing that if they ever need anything I won't be here."
13 years ago, when Kathryn was a teenager, she says she made a horrible mistake and used someone else's credit card to buy a Christmas tree and some presents for about $300. She confessed immediately, paid the money back, completed probation and has never again been in trouble.
But, five years ago, on her way back from a rare trip back to England, immigration agents at Dulles airport flagged Kathryn for deportation, because of that felony conviction of credit card theft.
"I know it was stupid and irresponsible and I've learned from it."
A full pardon from Governor Tim Kaine would dissolve the deportation case against Kathryn.
Kathryn's little girl, Aliyah said, choking back tears, "It would be hard on me and my brother and please forgive my mom because what she did when she was younger. I'm sure she didn't really mean to do."
After 10 On Your Side aired Kathryn's story, several elected officials are jumping in to help Kathryn by urging the Governor to grant the pardon.
Delegate Phil Hamilton has contacted the Governor's office. He also wrote him a two page letter, saying: "I am asking that you review this case and give strong consideration to granting Kathryn the pardon she needs to remain in this country with her children."
State Senator John Miller has contacted the Governor's office on Kathryn's behalf, pushing for a pardon.
And, Congressman Rob Wittman is also urging the Governor to forgive Kathryn.
He tells WAVY.com, "My office has been working with Immigration Customs Enforcement and Governor Kaine's office to rectify the situation for Ms. Ingelson."
Without the pardon, and without permission for passports from the children's estranged father, this family could be ripped apart.
"Good possibility my kids will be here and I will be there," said Kathryn.
"I'm scared and I wouldn't like to be separated from my Mom," said Aliyah.
Another twist in the story came Friday morning. Kathryn had to drive to Fairfax, as she does twice a month, to report in to immigration agents. Friday was her deadline to drive up there and show agents proof that she has a "one-way" ticket to England.
But, when Kathryn arrived with her ticket, she says the immigration agents told her it was not good enough. She says for the first time they told her the ticket needed to be "non-stop" as well as "one-way."
Her current ticket includes a short layover in Chicago.
Kathryn says the agents had never told her the ticket must be "non-stop" and the written instructions from the agents never mentioned it either.
Now, her attorney says the agents have given her until Tuesday to buy ANOTHER ticket and drive back up to Fairfax and show them proof of the new ticket.
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