Honduran Immigrant Faces Deportation After Helping Her Sister Report Domestic Violence
WASHINGTON -- An undocumented Florida woman who helped her sister report domestic violence now faces an order of deportation from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, even though her lawyers say she never should have been detected by ICE agents in the first place.
The woman, Rita Cote, 25, is married to a U.S. citizen and has four children, all of them citizens. She has no criminal record. But when police arrived to respond to the domestic-violence call on Feb. 16, 2009, law enforcement instead took Cote into custody, detained her for a week and handed her over to ICE.
ICE officials say their enforcement priorities first target illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes, but in practice, the agency more often rounds up those whose only crime is being in the country without documentation. The Obama administration has set a record for deportations of immigrants without a criminal record -- expelling more such people than those with a criminal record, although deportation of criminals has also increased.