Front paged at the Washington Post today is a heart-breaking story of an undocumented mother of three, and her struggle to stay in the country in the wake of a deportation order, forcing her to leave the U.S. within 24 hours. Eli Saslow follows Paula Godoy as she waits for news from her lawyer, Ricky Malik, as he pursues updates from ICE, all while the clock quickly ticks away at the little time she has left in the country with her family, which includes her children — one of whom is four weeks old.
Fitted with an ankle bracelet, Godoy is treated like a criminal, despite her case being low-priorty under Obama’s new deportation policy.
“There’s no time,” she told him. “We need a miracle now.”
Godoy had thought she might be given a last-minute reprieve based on the government’s new deportation guidelines, which were put into place last month. Faced with 11 million illegal immigrants and limited funds with which to remove them, the Obama administration announced it would focus only on deporting the worst of the worst while dismissing cases against people such as Godoy, who have clean records and long histories in the United States.
The government said it plans to reconsider the status of 300,000 illegal residents under the new guidelines, including many who already received deportation orders. But sometimes in Washington, a solution isn’t necessarily a fix. Even with the guidelines in place, there is no way for illegal immigrants to apply for review, and the government has yet to announce which cases will be reevaluated, when, and by whom. The new guidelines are not a law or a bill or even a policy; they are a suggestion that will be interpreted day by day, case by case.
One of those cases was Godoy’s. “I just need an answer,” she said.
For the ICE officer working the case, the question comes down to “dismiss or pursue?” With fourteen hours left to go, a decision is made. Paula receives a six month reprieve, which buys her a little more time:
“Technically,” Malik said, “you now have less than six months.”
And already her countdown had started again.