DETROIT — A Detroit immigrant family with a disabled girl that was days away from being deported will be allowed to remain in the United States for one more year, federal officials said.
The announcement by the Michigan office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Friday came after a Catholic group protested outside the Detroit office, a request to let the family stay by U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, and a meeting between ICE officials and an attorney representing the family.
“This is very good news,” said Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center attorney Kevin Piecuch of the decision to let the family stay another year. “The family is as happy as can be.” The Detroit Free Press reported that an ICE spokeswoman did not return emails asking for comment.
Daris Bartolon and two daughters — one of whom was born with rickets that damaged her bones and kidneys — fled Guatemala in 2016 after they said they suffered domestic abuse by a man in that country.
Piecuch had requested a stay of deportation based on the medical needs of Bartolon’s 15-year-old daughter, who has begun treatment at Shriner’s Hospital in Chicago. Over the summer she underwent surgery, is now in a wheelchair and, according to the Free Press, her doctors say she needs more surgery, which she would not be able to get in Guatemala.
A group of lay Catholics in metro Detroit called Strangers No Longer rallied for the family this year, sending letters to ICE from pastors and others urging they be allowed to stay.
But after the family’s request for political asylum was rejected by an immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals, ICE ordered the family removed from the country and informed the family to purchase a one-way plane ticket to Guatemala for a Dec. 30 flight, the Free Press reported.