An Ohio mother of three children, ages eight, three and one, is facing
deportation after attempting to pay a traffic ticket.
Fleeing civil war, then-17-year-old
Marinela Martinez-Magana came to the United States from El Salvador in 2004. When she tried to pay
a traffic ticket in Columbus, ICE officials led her away in handcuffs,
because she is undocumented.
Under the so-called "Morton Memo," Ms. Martinez-Magana may qualify
for prosecutorial discretion and a 12-month suspension of deportation
proceedings, since she is a nonviolent offender.
ICE has agreed to a
two-month stay, and Ms. Martinez-Magana says she plans to file a formal application for stay.
Stories such as this one resonate with many Central Californians who are
touched by immigration issues. Unfortunately Ms. Martinez-Magana, unless
her application is filed and granted, she may be facing deportation proceedings
again before Christmas.
California adopted a TRUST Act in 2014, which virtually eliminates stories
like this one in
Fresno and surrounding counties. If arrestees have an immigration hold, local
sheriffs only turn them over to ICE if there is a serious or violent felony
involved. The policy clearly states that the sheriff is to "err on
the side of caution and release the inmate" if the basis for the
hold is "questionable." Some counties, including Tulare County,
have even stronger policies in this area.
But stories (stories on Kern County and Bakersfield Ice situations) in
Kern County continue to give concern to undocumented drivers that their
traffic ticket may cause them unnecessary legal problems.
If you have a traffic ticket and you're an undocumented or under-documented
person, you don't have to fear having your day in court. Contact an
attorney today to help you take care of your ticket.