Lesly Cortez-Martinez, an undocumented mother of 3 United States citizen children, was deported last week after the United States granted her advanced permission to travel to Mexico. Ms. Cortez-Martinez immigrated to the United States at the age of 15 with her family and was granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Before traveling to Mexico she requested advanced travel permission from the United States government to allow her to visit her family in Mexico and return to the United States.
When Ms. Cortez-Martinez attempted to return from visiting her family and re-enter the United States last week at Chicago O’Hare International Airport immigration authorities detained her due to a 2004 deportation order that was in Ms. Cortez-Martinez’s immigration history. Despite having the advanced permission to travel, Ms. Cortez-Martinez was deported back to Mexico because of this 2004 deportation order.
After national outrage at the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to deport Ms. Cortez-Martinez, she was allowed to re-enter the United States and be reunited with her husband and three children. The Department of Homeland Security has stated that Ms. Cortez-Martinez will likely be placed into deportation proceedings after her return. Ms. Cortez-Martinez’s experience raises significant concerns for other noncitizens who have been granted advanced travel permission and highlights the risks involved in international travel plans on advanced parole.
Before international travel, and especially for those who are traveling on advanced parole, noncitizens should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss the risks involved in their travel before departing the United States.