Woman who fled poverty and violence in El Salvador more than 10 years ago says leaving would devastate her sons care
She gets to work at 4am, puts on her boots, hard hat and respirator and goes straight through noon. Drywall finishing is demanding labor but it pays better than housekeeping ever did. More importantly, the hours are better for her three children.
After 3pm, two of her children get on with their days homework and a few chores, as Blanca expects, and as she needs them to do, because in the afternoon her full attention must turn to her middle child. Alfonso, 11,a US citizen by birth, is autistic and lives with severe motor, speech and emotional impediments. Together, the single mother and her son tie the knots of his shoes, regrip his fork as he eats. If a seizure strikes, shes there to hold him. But in a weeks time, she may not be there.
She had been allowed to stay on humanitarian grounds, presenting herself to her local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) office annually and always routinely being rubber-stamped to remain in the US. But something suddenly changed.
In late July 2018, she walked into the Ice office as normal, but there was a new officer overseeing her case. He refused even to take her usual reapplication form for a stay of deportation out of her hand. Instead he told her to report back with a plane ticket to El Salvador by Wednesday 26 September.
In El Salvador, me and my sons lives are in danger. And Alfonso wouldnt receive any of the therapy and help he gets here. None of it. I cant send them to school there. They wont come back, she told the Guardian.
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