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Undocumented Immigrants Still Face Deportation, With Or Without Criminal Record

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Catia Paz Alvarez, left, with her husband and two U.S.-born children.
Armando Trull/WAMU
Catia Paz Alvarez, left, with her husband and two U.S.-born children.

Even as comprehensive immigration reform efforts appear to be dead in Congress, activists are pressuring the White House to take unilateral action to stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants with no criminal records.

Catia Paz Alvarez, 29, is an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador. She's lived in Woodbridge, Virginia, for 12 years. She has no criminal record, pays her taxes, her parents and siblings live in America, and she's married with two U.S.-born toddlers.

"Everything is here — my house, my family, my job, everything," Paz Alvarez says.

Paz Alvarez's appeal of her 2011 deportation order has been denied. She must leave by next month.

In a letter, Department of Homeland Security Field Office Director M. Yvonne Evans writes that she finds "no compelling reason to use her discretion" to stay that deportation.

"Just put yourself once in my shoes and think what this family going through, what this mother is going through, it's really really hard," says Paz Alvarez.

Immigration activists will be protesting in front of the White House on Thursday. They say deportation of undocumented immigrants such as Paz Alvarez continue even though President Obama has given DHS officers such as Evans the discretion to stay these types of deportations.

They want the president to order a stop to these deportations. Opponents say this rewards lawbreakers and will promote more undocumented immigration.


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