Earlier this week we wrote about a Las Vegas town hall meeting held by Reps. Steven Horsford (D-NV), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) in which Rep. Horsford called on Obama to stop the deportations of those who qualify for legislative immigration reform.
For one family, that town hall came to be especially significant. The Las Vegas Review Journal yesterday wrote about Bryan’s story:
Twenty-year-old Bryan Rivera didn’t know where to turn. His mother, a victim of domestic violence, had been turned in to immigration authorities for deportation by her ex-husband — the man who abused her, even while pregnant — as revenge for asking for owed child support payments.
Held for nearly a month at a Henderson facility, Thelma Martinez Soto would soon be shipped backed to Mexico, a country she left 24 years ago for greater opportunity in the United States. A ball of nerves, she could barely sleep.
Out of options, Rivera attended an immigration hearing Monday night in North Las Vegas and asked for help from U.S. Reps. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas.
Soto, 49, was released the next afternoon and reunited with her only son after Gutierrez and Horsford appealed to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. She’s now preparing her case to try and stay here legally.
“I was so scared,” Soto said Wednesday. “I still can’t sleep. My blood pressure is up. It was a nightmare.”
Mother and son went to church to thank God. Then on Wednesday they thanked Horsford during a Hispanics in Politics breakfast meeting, where he introduced them as an example of a broken immigration system that needs to be fixed.
Thelma Martinez Soto was only married for five years, but continued to be tormented and threatened by her ex-husband after they divorced. He beat her during pregnancy, and her son was born premature and deaf in his left ear because of the abuse. Now that she has been released, Bryan can continue his education at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas. Bryan said that while she was detained, he didn’t know how he was going to stay in school and worried that he might end up homeless on the streets.
Rep. Horsford lifted up Thelma’s case as a reason why President Obama has to address his record rate of deportations — and why the House GOP must pass immigration reform. As he said this week:
When you live in the shadows the law cannot protect you, but it can be used against you. It can be used in some ways to blackmail you.
Brian told us that his father said one time, ‘Remember that your mother’s an illegal immigrant and I can get rid of her.’ And, unfortunately, that’s what he did, in part because of a broken and backwards immigration system. … She was detained at the hands of her abuser. That’s perverse. It’s disgusting and it’s absolutely wrong.