In a statement reported by KVIA, Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services Deputy Director Anna Hey said Rosa’s deportation “amounts to a re-victimization of this young lady, who only came forward to help build the case against the shooter in the racist attack.” The group said Rosa had bravely stepped forward to provide officials with information after surviving the attack, with that assistance being “sufficient for the District Attorney’s office to issue a certification that she has been helpful in the investigation.”
That certification is key in applying for a U-visa, a special visa that puts undocumented immigrant victims of violent crime who work with law enforcement, just like Rosa, on a path to legal status. Yet “[d]espite having told this to the ICE officials who made the decision to deport her based on a years old deportation order, ICE officials in El Paso chose to remove her from the US, leaving her unsupported in Juarez,” Hey continued in the statement.
Following a ridiculous lawsuit launched by the state’s very corrupt attorney general, President Joe Biden’s 100-day moratorium on most deportations has been halted for now. But it’s entirely within ICE’s discretion to not deport someone, just like it’s entirely within ICE’s discretion to free detained immigrants from harmful immigration detention conditions. But ICE made a decision to deport Rosa anyway, just like it’s made a decision to refuse to release detainees and keep them susceptible to COVID-19.
“Across the United States, the COVID-19 caseload surged over the summer of 2020. ICE exacerbated the pandemic,” Detention Watch Network said in its devastating “Hotbeds of Infection” report last year. “Between May and August, our analyses reveal that ICE detention facilities were responsible for over 245,000 COVID-19 cases throughout the country.” Now it’s also responsible for the cruel deportation of a mass shooting survivor. In a Twitter thread, Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services said it was “demanding the immediate return of our client Rosa, a survivor of the El Paso Walmart Shooting, who was just deported to MX”:
Additionally, Biden’s order rescinding the previous administration’s policy that put just about any undocumented immigrant at risk of deportation was not affected by the court’s decision and goes into effect today, Feb. 1. That ICE deported Rosa the weekend before that is not a coincidence. ICE is clearly testing the Biden administration, and the Biden administration must come down hard. Firings at the agency and Rosa’s return to the U.S. would be a good start, in my opinion. “I have my whole life [in El Paso],” Rosa told KTSM. “I got there when I was little—I don’t remember anything about Juarez.”