Mother of Six Fights to Stay in Country

Illegal immigrant tries to avoid deportation

Thirty demonstrators and elected officials gathered outside a Chicago federal immigration office Monday to speak out against the deportation of undocumented Mexican immigrant Francisca Lino.

Lino, wife of a U.S. citizen and mother of six (all of which are either U.S. citizens or legal residents), entered the country illegally in 1999 and was arrested in 2005. She was scheduled to be deported today.

Lino's attorney filed a petition with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to delay her deportation for another year. The petition argues that, because Lino is the main provider for her family, her husband and children rely on her to take care of them and would face economic and psychological hardship if she left.

"[Immigration and Customs Enforcement] will review the information presented today and make a determination on whether to grant the request," spokeswoman Gail Montenegro said in an e-mail to the Chicago Tribune.

Lino had applied for legal status in 2000, but ironically, her arrest in 2005 took place during a hearing for that application. "I went in there [to the hearing] very content and optimistic," Lino said. "They had already given me permission to work and a Social Security number."

It appears though that Lino violated the rules of her citizenship process when she traveled to Mexico for a family emergency.

"These people have to choose [between] seeing a loved one before they die or screwing up a potential case that they may have 10 years from now," her lawyer said, according to Medill Reports.

Lino and her supporters hope that the year-long delay will be enough time for the newly-elected President to change immigration laws.

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