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 Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren introduced a private bill this past Monday, April 28, in an effort to halt the deportation of a Bay Area woman, Antonia Aguilar. The bill called for Aguilar’s release from the Otay Detention Center in San Diego, California as well as granting her legal permanent residency. As of Wednesday April 29, word was received that Aguilar was deported with no other information at the time of press.

In a press conference and rally held by San Jose State University’s Student Advocates for Higher Education (SAHE) in front of Martin Luther King, Jr. library on Tuesday, April 29th, Aguilar’s son, David Gonzalez, an aerospace engineering student at SJSU asked for support to bring his mother home. Gonzalez and his younger siblings, Ameila, and Jose Manuel have not seen their mother in three years.

“I’m here today asking that our fellow representatives, specifically the Republican party, to follow in her [Lofgren’s] brave footsteps and stand up for my mother,” said Gonzalez. “Our story represents a struggle of 11 million others whose families have been torn apart or live in prevalent fear of deportation. No family should have to suffer what we have.”

Three years ago, Aguilar left the United States to visit Mexico to say a final goodbye to her ailing father. Aguilar lived in the United States undocumented for 11 years. Last month, her request for political asylum was denied.

In an earlier interview, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren commented, “The mother has no criminal record except trying to be reunited with her children.” Aguilar’s children are currently separated and living with friends and family.

SAHE launched a campaign to bring Aguilar and others home by encouraging others to place calls to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and share support via social media through the hashtags, #BringAntoniaHome and #BringThemHome.At the time of the press conference, Gonzalez said his mother was awaiting a response from ICE in regards to obtaining prosecutorial discretion, which favors prosecuting aliens in a case by case basis, for example non-criminal aliens vs. criminal aliens.

Statistics, released by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, note that prosecutorial discretion is rarely used. From October 2012-March 2014, ICE exercised prosecutorial discretion in about 6.7 percent of cases.

“Although the introduction of a private bill is rare, the congresswoman’s bill serves as a clarion demand for all sides of the house of representatives to come together to enact just and humane immigration reform,” said Ray Sullivan, SAHE member.


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