ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A 48-year-old married mother of three, who was taken into custody by ICE agents after she reported to the downtown office for what she thought was a routine check-in, has had her scheduled deportation halted.
Ilsa Guzman entered the United States illegally in 1999, crossing the border in California.
She voluntarily reported to federal agents and requested asylum, which she was not granted. However, she’s attempted to follow the law, wearing an ankle monitor and reporting for routine check-ins.
Guzman, who has 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.
Her check-ins have usually been with a contractor for ICE, but she was told to report to the field office on Feb 12 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 was scheduled for deportation back to Honduras.
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 be resolved within six months had Tuesday’s events not happened.
If Guzman is deported before the petition is approved, Tulo said there is no chance of her returning to the United States.
She has filed emergency paperwork to delay Guzman’s deportation and a stay was later granted, which halts her being deported pending a hearing.
Since her arrest, she has been held in the Pulaski County Jail. She was released Tuesday. A hearing in front of a federal judge is scheduled for Thursday.
Shortly after she was arrested, ICE released a statement:
On Feb. 12, 2019, ICE deportation officers arrested Ilsa Lizeth Guzman-Fajardo, 48, a citizen of Honduras who is illegally present in the United States, 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.