Columnist: One of our own faces deportation
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.– Martin Niemöller
A Gardner-Webb University junior and resident of Forest City is facing deportation to the Honduras after 13 years of living here. Two weeks ago a letter from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement notified her of a her deportment to a place she barely remembers.
Sthefany Flores didn’t decide to come to this country. She was 7 years old when brought her.
When she noticed that her case file was wrong, she called the U.S. Homeland Security office in Charlotte and explained the mix up. Two days later, she received an identical letter from Immigration with an updated case number. Flores was notified to be at the Charlotte office on April 19 with no more than 40 pounds of luggage and a passport.
Flores, an honors student majoring in journalism and minoring in political science and theater, has no criminal background and her immigration paperwork was renewed on March 15 that allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children to receive a renewable, two-year permits to stay in the country.
Immigration lawyer Carnell Johnson and Byron Martinez with Unidos We Stand in Gastonia were called as advocates who work with immigrants facing deportation for “unjust” causes.
Flores was prepping for finals, but now faces the fact she may never take her final exams.<
Even though Flores was born in Honduras, she has had little communication with anyone there and has not seen anyone from her home country since she left.
Friends, professors, officials have sent character references, called elected officials, and continue to show support for her as a community. U.S. Rep. McHenry’s office has been contacted.
Many prepared over the holiday to go to bat for her on Monday morning. Keep your fingers crossed for one of our own.