Border Journey – Stop the deportation…

Border Journey – Stop the deportation…

of Sandra Lopez

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported 20-year-old Sandra Lopez to Nogales, Sonora on March 9.

of Sandra Lopez


and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported 20-year-old Sandra Lopez to Nogales,
Sonora on March 9.  She was brought to the U.S. when she was just two
weeks old and she doesn’t know anyone in Mexico.  Sandra spent five days
on the streets of Nogales and then ran for her life up through the lanes of
traffic at the border and crossed back into the U.S.  She was arrested and
taken into federal custody, and applied for asylum.  She is now at risk of
being deported again.

attended a press conference at Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson on
September 29 to call on the Obama administration to halt the detention and
deportation of Sandra.  I was able to speak with her mother and father,
and I told them I would spread the word about her case. 

No More Deaths organization launched a national campaign for Sandra on July
25.  More than 5,000 e-mails, faxes and phone calls have been made to ICE
and the Department of Homeland Security.  Please add your voice to the
campaign by going to
to send a message.  

graduated from high school in Tucson in 2009 and wanted to enroll in Pima
Community College.  She was told that she would have to pay out-of-state
tuition because she doesn’t have immigration documents.  Her family
couldn’t afford that and she began working with her mother cleaning homes.

ran into a friend from high school in September 2010, and he asked her to mail
a box for him and gave her $100.  Sandra had never sent anything from FedEx
before and it cost $85 for the package.  She kept the remaining $15 and it
turned out that the package contained marijuana. 

plead guilty to “securing the proceeds of an offense” on February 8, 2011 and
was placed on three years’ probation.  She was then transferred to ICE and
placed in the Eloy Detention Center – a 1,500 bed facility owned and operated
by the Corrections Corporation of America.

appeared before an immigration judge on March 9 and was told there was no
possibility of relief for her case.  She became very distraught, started
crying and signed a form that she did not understand which caused her to be
deported to Nogales that night.

men began to ask me to come with them,” wrote Sandra in her application for
asylum.  “I had a little bit of money so I went to a hotel right by the
border and got a room.  I saw men bringing girls a lot younger than me
there and the girls looked really scared.  At night I could hear them
scream.  I left the next morning.  I was really scared.  Several
women met me outside and told me to come with them.  They told me they
kept girls like me and gave them jobs.  I know they wanted me to be a sex
worker for them.” 

asked policemen for help but they would not help me.  They also tried to
get me to go with them and I knew I would be raped.  I lived on the street
for five days and nights – just running and hiding.  I was so scared I ran
for my life up through the lanes of traffic back into the United States.”

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on August 18 that it would
“execute a case-by-case review of all individuals in removal [deportation]
proceedings to ensure that they constitute our highest priorities.”  DHS
also stated, “It makes no sense to expend our enforcement resources on
low-priority cases such as individuals who were brought to this country as
young children and know no other home.”  Sandra’s case offers the Obama
administration an opportunity to show that this is a change we can believe in.

(A photo of Sandra’s mother and father)

In love and solidarity,

Scott Nicholson

Nicholson, a member of University Congregational UCC in Missoula, Montana,
serves with BorderLinks in Nogales, Mexico as a volunteer at the Community