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Immigration Law

An Asylum-Seeker's Lucky Break

Tyche Hendricks, KQED, Jan. 4, 2022

"Rosa Díaz vividly remembers the summer day in 2019 when she showed up for an appointment at the Sacramento office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “The surprise I got on July 12 was that I was going to be deported,” she said, speaking in Spanish. An ICE officer told her that a judge had ordered her removed from the country after she missed an immigration court hearing in Los Angeles the previous November. Díaz was stunned. ... [T]he address ICE sent to the immigration court got botched: ICE listed the city as Los Angeles. “I never received a notice of that hearing. If I had, I would have been there,” Díaz said. “My intention was to do things the right way.” ... A pair of immigrant rights advocates with NorCal Resist who were leafleting outside the ICE building stopped to check on Díaz, said Katie Fleming, director of the removal defense program at the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation in Sacramento. The advocates drove her to Fleming’s office and made an urgent plea for legal help. “We were able to talk to her and then advocate with ICE to give her a few more days to be able to try to reopen that removal proceeding because she did not know about it,” Fleming said. The swift response by the activists and lawyers was an incredible stroke of luck for Díaz. Attorneys succeeded in reopening her case. And in March, with Fleming representing her, she won asylum for herself and her children."