MSU freshman Pamela Quintana descibes her mother as hardworking, kind and community-oriented.
“Everyone who knows her loves her,” said Quintana. “She’s known throughout the community…she’s a very hands-on mom, always taking care of her kids.”
Every day, she wakes up at 5 a.m. She cleans as many as five homes a day to make ends meet. And she tries to return home at 5 p.m to see the kids she works hard to support.
But now the mother of three faces the threat of deportation under the Trump administration’s new policy.
“All my life, I thought she was legal,” said Quintana.”It never occurred to me that my family could be ripped apart like that.”
A U.S. resident of more than 20 years, her Mexican immigrant mother was considered a priority-three illegal alien. The designation means she has a clean legal record, and poses little threat to national security. The Obama administration required that she meet with immigration officials regularly to avoid deportation charges.
“Last month, when we went, the systems they had in place don’t exist anymore,” said Quintana. “[Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE] told her to renew her passport to Mexico.”
Quintana’s story is one of many unfolding throughout the country, as President Trump makes renewed promises to kick out illegal residents.
“Immigration officers are finding the gang members, the drug dealers and the criminal aliens,” said Trump during the Conservation Political Action Conference Feb. 24. “And throwing them the hell out of our country.”
A far cry from the criminals the president describes, Quintana’s mom still faces the same scrutiny.
“People are so mean and ignorant, they’ll say anything.” said Quintana.
For Quintana, her mother’s deportation is a nightmare that she’s lived through once already.
When she was 13, her mother was detained by ICE for three months. She was later freed in exchange for her father’s deportation to Mexico.
“Plane tickets are a lot of money. It’s been three years since I saw him,” said Quintana. “He didn’t get to see me graduate highschool. I feel like he’s missing out a lot on my life.”
In her father’s absence, Quintana has taken on a bigger role at home.
“I’ve learned to deal with it. I’ve had to grow up a lot,” said Quintana.
Now, Quintana waits to learn the fate of her mother. She will accompany her mother to ICE proceedings May 2.