PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After being detained by immigration officials for nearly a month, a Rhode Island woman has become the face of a class action lawsuit brought by the ACLU against the Trump administration, DHS, and ICE.
Lilian Calderon recalls her experience, being detained at marriage interview for residency status with her husband in January. “We’re trying to help other people that are in the same situation.” Hear from them on @wpri12 pic.twitter.com/ojsrmbnAQ4— Kait Walsh (@KaitLouiseWalsh) April 11, 2018
Lilian Calderon, 30, was brought to the U.S. from Guatemala when she was just 3 years old. She was detained by ICE agents in Boston for weeks in January after she attempted to apply for lawful permanent resident status. Her release was granted on a temporary basis, meaning it cannot be guaranteed she will not be arrested again.
“It’s not fair that we’re told by the government do this to achieve this and here we are doing this, but you’re not told that you might be separated from your family or you might be detained,” Calderon said.
In a release, the ACLU said the lawsuit will challenge the separation of married couples and families in cases like Calderon’s.
“In an effort to protect people from detention and deportation, to keep families together while non-citizen spouses pursue lawful immigration status,” Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts Carol Rose said. “Yes, President Trump, that means the ACLU will see you in court, again.”
Rhode Island State Representative Joe Trillo said that while he hopes Calderon’s unique situation works out for her, he supports the Trump administration’s stance on immigration.
“I would roll back Rhode Island being a sanctuary state,” Trillo said. “I don’t like that image. I think it’s wrong. It sends the wrong message.”
Calderon said that if she has no family in Guatemala is she is deported. She is joining four other families, as well as several lawyers, in filing the lawsuit.
“We want to just speak up and hopefully help other families speak up as well,” Calderon said.
The ACLU said the other clients include a mother who is still detained, a man fearful of identifying himself to the government and two families already reporting to ICE. The ACLU also said there has been a massive increase in unjust deportations in the Trump administration.
Eyewitness News reached out to ICE, which stated they cannot comment on pending legal matters.