Stamford mother faces deportation after living here for 25 years

NEW HAVEN —  Miriam Martinez is to turn herself in to ICE Monday, after decades of trying to become a legal citizen.

“Miriam Martinez-Lemus is citizen of Guatemala. A federal immigration judge granted her voluntary departure in 2002, but she failed to leave the U.S. as instructed and that order automatically changed to a final order of removal,” said an ICE official. “In a measure of discretion, ICE did not place her in custody, but entered her into an Alternatives to Detention program, and she has been checking in periodically at an ICE office. She was asked to provide proof she intends to leave the U.S., in compliance with the court’s order, which she has done. Should she fail to depart as instructed, she will be listed as an immigration fugitive and arrested when encountered, and then ICE will carry out her removal order.”

As an issue of operational security, ICE will not publicly discuss specific removal dates or times for any individual until after the removal has been completed.

Martinez came to The United States illegally from Guatemala in 1992. She fled the war-torn country with hopes of a better life. Martinez met her husband in Stamford and they had two children together. Everything was fine until an unfortunate diagnosis derailed her life.

“Type one juvenile diabetes in the case of Miriam’s daughter requires very aggressive monitoring, like hourly,” said Glenn Formica, Miriam’s lawyer. “If the insulin drops she could go into shock, have seizures and possibly become in mortal danger.”

Martinez applied for two separate stays with other lawyers but both were denied. Once ICE told her she would be deported on Monday, community members in New Haven came to support her through the tough process. Formica took on her case on Friday and said Martinez’s situation is one that must be corrected.

“Personally I think it’s offensive,” saidFormica. “I think it’s offensive to make ICE officers enforce this. And I think it needs to end. And in Miriam’s case you’re putting the life of a 12 year old at risk. For what? And as a lawyer I can`t let that pass without doing everything I possibly can to stop it,”

Formica said he will apply for another stay Monday. If it doesn’t work, he says he will do everything possible to resolve the case.