DENVER — The old saying, “home is where the heart is,” is especially true for Jeanette Vizguerra.
Family friend Judith Marquez describes her as, “an amazing person in our lives.”
Even though the mother of four wasn’t born here, Vizguerra calls Colorado home.
Friday, friends and family gathered to celebrate her being allowed to stay in the U.S., at least for the time being. Through a translator, Vizguerra says, “I’m happy right now, to be here with my community and be able to thank all the people that have supported me, and to be here with my family, and my children.”
Vizguerra’s battle to stay in the country started in 2009.
She and her husband ran their own moving and cleaning company, when she was pulled over for a routine traffic stop. “The first question that the officer asked me, which I felt was racist, was, ‘are you legal? Are you in the country legally?’”
Since then, she’s been in and out of detention centers, and court rooms, fighting to stay with her children. The whole time, she’s had community support, Including a rally in 2011 outside her deportation hearing. Friend Jessy Perez says, “If she’s fighting so much inside the detention center, the least thing we could do is to fight along her side.”
Even though Vizguerra is allowed to stay in the U.S., it’s only for a brief time.
But she says there’s always hope. “There seems to be no more options in my case, but I hope that the community continues to pressure to pass immigration reform, because I have hope.” And she has compassion for others in her situation. “There are more people like me inside of detention centers that need this to be able to stay here with her families.”
Supporters hope a petition, and community leaders will help pressure lawmakers because Vizguerra’s time with her family is limited.”This is a partial win, it’s not a full win, because I’m only allowed to stay here until the end of the year.”
Vizguerra has been in the U.S. for about 15 years now, and three of her four children were born here. The last thing she, or her supporters want is to see a family broken apart.
ICE officials for released the following statement Saturday:
“ICE is focused on sensible, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators.”
More information available at the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition website