The wife of a former Marine and Iraq War veteran whose family publicly pleaded for President Donald Trump to stop her deportation was put on a plane to her native Mexico, her lawyer said Friday morning.
Alejandra Juarez, who had been living in Davenport, Florida, with her naturalized husband and their two American daughters, had an emotional goodbye with her family, according to attorney Chelsea Nowel.
"She is alone today as she has no home yet," Nowel told NBC News in a text message. "Once she finds a place to live the youngest daughter will meet her in Mexico."
Juarez's husband, Cuauhtemoc “Temo” Juarez, who describes himself as a conservative who voted for Trump, wrote the president a letter that was delivered through his congressman asking for a reprieve, reported Stars and Stripes.
Alejandra Juarez, 39, had entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico when she was 18, escaping violence in her home country. Three years later she met and married Temo in Florida.
“I came here illegally. I’m ashamed of it. I know I did something wrong,” Alejandra Juarez told NBC News in an interview before she was deported. “I seriously thought that was the only exit out of a situation I was living in. I think that saved my life.”
Temo served in the U.S. Marine Corps and later joined the Army National Guard in Florida. He came to the U.S. from Mexico as a child and was naturalized days before he was deployed to Iraq. The couple has two daughters, ages 9 and 16, both born in the United States.
The office of Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., which represents the family's congressional district, earlier confirmed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement had taken Alejandra Juarez's passport — foreshadowing her likely deportation.
“It’s common for ICE to take the passport to ensure the person has a valid travel document,” Nowel said at the time.
“It added an unnecessary amount of stress on Alejandra on what was already one of the worst days of her life,” she added.
Soto sent bipartisan letters on Wednesday addressed to Trump, the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security requesting a stay of removal.
There is an immigration policy for members of the military and their families called “parole in place” to “recognize the important sacrifices made by U.S. Armed forces members, veterans, enlistees, and their families." The Citizen and Immigration Services website says they provide “discretionary options such as parole in place or deferred action on a case-by-case basis.”
The Juarezes received a call Tuesday from their attorney saying ICE agreed to review her most recent “parole in place” application. But they have rejected her previous three applications, according to Stars and Stripes.
“I love this country. This country has given me great things because we have worked hard. But the America we are living in now is getting full of hate,” Alejandra Juarez said.
She checked in regularly with immigration authorities during former President Barack Obama’s administration, and says she was always told she is not a criminal and has nothing to worry about.
Now, with Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, few exceptions are made for unauthorized immigrants — even in cases when a crime has not been committed.
“Before you enlist in the military, think it twice. Before you marry an immigrant, think it twice. Think if it’s really worth it for you to serve this country, because look how they treated me,” Alejandra Juarez previously told NBC News, through tears.
She had said that if she were deported Friday, she would take daughter Estela, 9, with her to Mexico while her her other daughter, Pamela, 16, stays with her father in Florida.
“It makes me sad, mainly because I tell my mom everything. And she always supports me … And now that I’m getting older I’m going to have more problems and issues that I’m going to need help with and I want my mom to be there with me," Pamela said.
The parents decided to take the younger daughter to Mexico because Temo travels for work and she is too young to take care of herself.
"I don’t really want to go to Mexico but I know I need to because I’m too young and also I want to go for my mom … because I don’t want her to be lonely,” Estela said.
She went on to say what she would tell Trump if gotten the chance: “I know my mom made a mistake and it was wrong, but he said he was going to deport criminals. My mom is not a criminal," the girl said. "She is a military spouse and a mom of two kids.”