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Family trying to keep grandmother from being deported

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A Valley family with the help of Puente Arizona held a vigil Wednesday night outside of the Maricopa County women's jail to show their support and love for Elva Bernal and to protest her possible deportation.


"Her main mission is to help people that are in her position right now, so now the game has changed a little bit. Now she's on the opposite end and now she needs all of our help," her son Michael Talavera said.

Bernal was convicted of a misdemeanor DUI and turned herself in Wednesday morning to serve a 24-hour sentence in Tent City. The concern, though, is that she won't be released from Tent City but rather transferred into ICE custody.

"Since she is here in the country illegally, now she is at a high risk of being deported and pretty much being stripped from her family," Talavera said.

Her son says Bernal has been living in the U.S. for 30-plus years and has tried every year to gain legal status but for some reason has not been able to.

She is a mother of five U.S. citizens and a grandmother to six, soon to be seven. Her family says deporting this Nana now would just be cruel.

"She's a loving caring person takes care of the siblings, she cooks for you, she takes care of your friends, she's just a warm-hearted, welcoming person," her son said.

The family with the help of Puente is trying to appeal to the acting director of ICE in Phoenix. Their goal is to get him to use his discretion and not deport Bernal for what they say was a one-time mistake.

The family likely will not know what's going to happen to Bernal until Thursday morning.

Statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):

"Ms. Bernal was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officers this morning and remains in the agency's custody at this time. As a foreign national whose case history includes a conviction for driving under the influence, she falls under the agency's immigration enforcement priorities. ICE plans to place Ms. Bernal in removal proceedings and it will be up to an immigration judge with the Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review to determine whether she has a legal basis to remain in the U.S." 


Jessica Hall

People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.

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