Update : Miriam Martinez Lemus was grated a stay of deportation on Wednesday afternoon. Click here for the latest story from Daily Voice.
STAMFORD, Conn. — A Stamford mom of two who was ordered to be deported to her native Guatemala watched from her apartment window as supporters held a rally on her behalf on Tuesday evening.
Many held up signs on the lawn out front saying "Stop Deportation" and "Keep Families Together."
Miriam Martinez Lemus, 52, was denied of stay of deportation on Monday by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement. But Lemus did not board a plane for Guatemala as ordered — instead, she returned to her Stamford home with her husband and daughters.
Because she is an immigration fugitive, Lemus can be arrested and detained by ICE. She stayed indoors as her husband, Raphael Benavides, joined supporters at the rally.
Participants in the rally included Nury Chavarria of Norwalk and Luis Barrios of Derby, both of whom were granted stays of deportation earlier this year. Mayor David Martin and state Rep. William Tong also spoke in Lemus's support, as did a representative for U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.
"I cannot leave my child. I cannot take her to Guatemala — there is no medicine for her. I must be by her side," Lemus said in explaining her decision to stay. Her 12-year-old daughter has Type 1 diabetes. The girl, a U.S. citizen and a Stamford Public Schools student, uses an insulin pump and needs her blood sugar closely monitored. Lemus also has a 10-year-old daughter.
Lemus came the U.S. at age 27 to escape political unrest and civil war in Guatemala. The longtime Stamford resident unsuccessfully filed for asylum. After years of complicated proceedings, Martinez received a stay of deportation last year, but when she reported to ICE in August for a renewal, the stay was denied and she was ordered deported, according to her supporters.
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and his wife visited Lemus on Wednesday.
"Unacceptable that our policies tear families and communities apart," Himes posted on Facebook. "Have we no compassion? Have we no sense of justice? Have we no decency?"
Her supporters have started a MoveOn.org petition calling for the deportation to be stopped.
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