Ayded Reyes attends Southwestern College just outside of San Diego. She is the highest ranked women’s junior college cross country runner in the state, a community activist who volunteers her time with the elderly, and still maintains a 3.5 grade point average. By all accounts, she is an outstanding citizen of the United States. The problem is, she isn’t – the 20-year-old was brought into the country from Mexico by her parents when she was just two years old, and she does not have U.S. citizenship.
Reyes’ story of potential deportation hinges on what appears to be a suspicious arrest in October 2011. She was sitting in her boyfriend’s car when a police officer approached the vehicle and asked the two for identification. She could only present a college ID, and told the officer she didn’t have a state ID or Social Security card. The police took Reyes in and said they performed a standard background check, which revealed she was not a legal U.S. citizen. She was then given to border patrol authorities who incarcerated her for five days, during which Reyes was “scared to death,” she said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents harassed Reyes and tried to force her to sign deportation papers, which she rejected. “They kept calling Mexico ‘your country.’ They kept saying ‘You should go back to your country,’ but it’s not my country,” Reyes said. “I don’t know anyone in Mexico, not a single person.”
Reyes earned a reprieve though from Bob Filner, a U.S. Representative of California, who was notified by Reyes’ coach that she was facing deportation. Filner has gone a step further and introduced a private bill to grant Reyes citizenship under special circumstances. However, Reyes still faces deportation and her status could be determined as soon as March when a judge hears her case.
We will continue the story of Ayded Reyes next time, when we look at the DREAM act and how her case will proceed over the next few months.
Source: ESPNW, “‘If they make me go back, I will be lost,'” Jamie Reno, Dec. 27, 2011