tags: Silent No More

Marxavi Angel Martinez

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Marxavi Angel Martinez came to America at the age of 3 with her parents. The family came to the U.S. on valid visas but stayed in America after establishing a good life for their family. Angel has never known a life outside of the United States.

But as reported in the Los Angeles Times, Angel was arrested, sent to a Federal prison after having been arrested as part of the Bush Administration’s new policy of deputizing local law enforcement officials in the “hunt” for immigrants.

She was charged with misusing a Social Security number and in order to see her son, she pleaded guilty to a felony charge – like arson, rape, assault or espionage – and will likely be deported to a country she has never known.

Angel was at work at a library in Graham, North Carolina when a deputy assigned to the immigration task force executed the sting.

Her arrest outraged many Graham residents and drew harsh criticism from immigration reform advocates. It also put a spotlight on the sheriff’s office, which denied that it was waging a campaign to round up illegal workers.

Friends said they are helping the family raise money and plan to support them at deportation hearings. “It’s different if it’s criminal, but [Martinez] was just a young girl working part time at the library,” said a friend, Viviana Maltby. Marilyn Tyler, a retired librarian, called the situation in town “pathetic.”

“The sheriff’s office is using all this energy and time on one woman to tear her life apart, but why?” she said. “This is a situation where you have to use judgment.”

Local law enforcement agencies have been working with federal immigration agents under a program, known as 287(g), meant to focus on serious crimes, such as drug trafficking, gang activity and terrorism. The deputy who arrested Martinez at the library was assigned to such a task force. After pleading guilty to misuse of a Social Security number, a felony, Martinez was released Aug. 13 on $25,000 bond and placed under house arrest pending deportation hearings.