DACA student at Yale petitions to protect mother recovering with cancer from deportation

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A doctoral student at Yale University who is a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is attempting to halt the deportation of his mother, who is currently recovering from Stage 4 cancer.

Tania Romero, a Honduran mother of four, is facing deportation after being arrested. Her son, Cristian Padilla Romero, started a petition this week to halt her deportation.

{mosads}Padilla Romero, 24, said in a statement that his mother was arrested Aug. 15 in Georgia after being pulled over for a traffic violation. He said her oral cancer could worsen if she is deported.

“If deported to Honduras she would certainly face a decline in her health, if not death, as the country lacks proper facilities to treat oral cancer, an overall shortage of advanced medication and treatments for cancer survivors,” Padilla Romero said.

On Tuesday, he created a petition asking Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to “be humane and release my mother to fight her case outside of detention and so she can fully recover from a long battle against cancer.”

As of Friday morning, the petition had more than 23,000 signatures.

Padilla Romero also told The Hill in an interview that he had recently learned that ICE has agreed to not deport his mother until the agency meets with the staff of Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.). 

A spokesperson for McBath told The Hill that the office had been working with the family.

Padilla Romero also said that he did not feel like his mother is receiving the care that she needs while she is being held in detention. 

Specifically, he said that she had recently developed a vitamin B12 deficiency and did not receive medicine for it until a lawyer intervened. 

The New York Times reported Thursday that Romero illegally entered the U.S. two decades ago.

Padilla Romero said in his statement that his mother never received a removal order issued in 2008. He said he learned through a Freedom of Information Act request that the postal service returned the three hearing notices to immigration authorities.

He added that his mother first learned of her removal order last year, but that she was not able to address it because of her illness.

Padilla Romero also said authorities denied a request to halt her removal and that ICE has requested travel documents from the Honduran Consulate, meaning she may soon face deportation.

An ICE spokesperson declined to comment on Romero’s case, citing “privacy restrictions,” but said the agency “provides safe, humane, clean, professionally run and appropriate conditions of confinement for individuals in its custody” and “access to necessary and appropriate medical care.”

—Updated at 4:32 p.m.

Tags Cancer DACA Deportation Georgia Honduras ICE Immigration Immigration and Customs Enforcement Lucy McBath petition
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