Undocumented Berwyn Grandmother of 10 Temporarily Avoids Detention

Genoveva Ramirez emerged from abrupt appointment with ICE to cheers and hugs from supporters

Chicago community leaders on Tuesday rallied around a 67-year-old woman who supporters said was abruptly called for a meeting with immigration authorities despite having previously been granted deferred status.

Genoveva Ramirez, an undocumented grandmother of 10 from Mexico City, received the call from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Mother's Day, her family said.

It was the first time she had been required check in with the department since 2015.

"We all deserve the fighting chance to stay here with our families and our communities where we have built our lives," Arianna Salgado, with Organized Communities Against Deportation, said.

Ramirez, who is nicknamed “abuelita” or grandma, came to the U.S. 16 years ago. She showed up to Tuesday's meeting surrounded by about a dozen supporters.

"I think it’s alarming given some of the national changes that we’re seeing," Lissette Castillo with Organized Communities Against Deportation said, "the fact that across the country community members are being asked to check in and many of them are being stopped and detained and put into deportation proceedings that day.”

Ultimately Ramirez received no detention today and emerged from the meeting with immigration authorities to cheers and hugs. 

Her fight is not over yet, though. Her attorney said immigration officials have indicated they would consider her stay of removal and that she must meet with authorities once again in late August.

“In the grand scheme of things we’re glad she wasn’t detained today," Ramirez's attorney, Ruiz Velasco, said, "but I still think it is a negative impact to our communities that they are taking these steps."

Ramirez said she won’t give up.

“I don’t think I’m the only one that deserves to stay," she said. "Everyone does because we are hard workers and we came here to be with our families.  We deserve respect.”

"She deserves the right to stay with us," her son, Luis Fernando Castellans, said. "She’s a very lovely mom, a great grandma."

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