Judge Orders Deportation Of Arizona Immigration Rights Activist Who Has Legal Permanent Residence

Judge banging his gavel
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On Friday 33-year-old Alejandra Pablos had her green card revoked by a federal judge in Tucson, Arizona. Pablos first came to the United States from Nogales, Mexico, when she was just a baby. During the many years she has lived in the U.S., she became a legal permanent resident of America, and knows no other home.

But Judge Thomas Michael O’Leary was not interested. Instead, according to KTAR, he focused on the fact that she had criminal convictions between 2005 and 2010, and served two years in a detention center in Eloy, Arizona, for a DUI, endangerment, and solicitation to possess a dangerous drug.

Pablos is also an immigration rights activist, and has been working hard against the policies of the Trump administration to fight for those who are seeking asylum in the country due to terrible circumstances in their homelands. As the Washington Post reported, Pablos has been working for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health in Annandale, Virginia, since 2016.

She was arrested in March this year when she traveled to Arizona to check in with immigration officials. Following her arrest, Pablos was sent to a detention center in Eloy, where she spent another 43 days. Two months earlier, she had been charged with trespassing and obstructing justice for participating in a protest at a Homeland Security building.

Pablos tried to argue with O’Leary that her life would be in danger if she were forced to return to Mexico, but he would have none of it, stating that she did not qualify for asylum as “reproductive rights activists weren’t deemed a group in need of protection.” Activists for abortion rights in Mexico are often targeted for violent attacks in a country where the practice remains largely illegal.

Those who support Pablos believe that she was specifically targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because of her work in trying to ease the immigration path for asylum seekers to the U.S. The agency has, of course, denied this.

Before O’Leary announced his verdict in her case, a petition started doing the rounds asking Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to pardon the 2010 DUI arrest. Last week alone, the petition amassed more than 16,000 signatures, far more than the 25,600 signatures it set out to get. While immigration is under federal jurisdiction and can’t be overturned by a gubernatorial pardon, if Ducey decides to pardon her conviction then the reason for her deportation no longer exists.

Pablos has made a statement to announce she would be appealing the decision, saying in a statement, “The struggle continues.”

“I’ve taken responsibility for my mistakes, but when is it enough? I’ve completed my sentences, I’ve turned my life around and transformed myself into someone who works every day to help others — but when is it enough?” said Pablos.