The fate of Irma Medrano, the woman seeking sanctuary in the U.S. from her abusive husband in El Salvador, hangs in the balance. Yesterday, the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed her motion for a stay of deportation.
The 44-year-old Medrano fled El Salvador in 1995 to live with her sister in California after years of beatings and death threats from her husband, which she says were ignored by Salvadoran police. El Salvador has been harshly criticized by the UN for failing to address an epidemic of violence against women.
After her motion was dismissed on Friday, Medrano was immediately moved by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from her Yuba City, Calif., jail cell to the Martinez detention facility in Contra Costa County, according to her lawyer, Aubra Fletcher. ICE told Medrano to bring all her belongings and recommended that her family visit her this weekend (she has two children born in the U.S.). Fletcher anticipates that Medrano will be deported early next week. Her husband has reportedly vowed to take revenge on her for fleeing.
However, there’s still a chance for Medrano. Newly reelected Calif. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Anne Eshoo, longtime women’s rights advocates, have put pressure on ICE to keep Medrano in the country until her new application for asylum with the Department of Justice can be heard. That application might have a fighting chance because in June the Obama administration ruling that domestic violence can be grounds for refugee status.
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