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Utah protest opposes pending deportation of Mexican activist

August 31, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Immigration activists in Utah have protested the pending deportation of a Mexican woman who has provided health and nutrition education for an immigrant aid group, officials said.

Cecelia Figueroa, 55, was detained when she went for what she thought was a routine check-in interview with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Friday. ICE officials then told her that she would be deported Monday back to a part of Mexico she fled 11 years ago to escape violence.

One of her nephews was kidnapped and murdered by organized crime seeking money from her family that they did not have, she said. Going back would make her and her extended family targets again.

“People back home think that a newly returning immigrant coming from the United States has a lot of money,” Figueroa said.

About 150 protesters rallied Friday asking immigration officials to delay her scheduled deportation and consider granting her asylum, the newspaper reported.

“Trump has done away with going after people with criminal records and instead is going after anyone who is undocumented whether they have a criminal record or not,” said Maria Montes, advocacy coordinator for the immigration aid group Comunidades Unidas.

People violating immigration laws are subject to arrest, detention and deportation, ICE officials said.

“As ICE leadership has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” spokeswoman Alethea Smock said. ICE “does not target unlawfully present aliens for arrest based on advocacy positions they hold or in retaliation for critical comments they make. Any suggestion to the contrary is irresponsible, speculative and inaccurate.”

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

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