Update: Basalt Woman Facing Deportation, Released By ICE
Friends And Family Fight To Keep Her Here
Update: Norma Galindo Gonzales' son Hector has confirmed that his mother was released from ICE custody on Friday night. We'll provide more details as they become available.
A Basalt woman is facing deportation to Mexico while her husband and children remain here. Now her family and friends are fighting back.
Hector Galindo Morales has spent his life in the United States and is a citizen. As he prepares to graduate from Basalt High School, he is missing his mother, Norma Galindo Gonzales. Norma is currently being held in an immigration facility in Aurora, awaiting deportation to Mexico.
While her two children are citizens, she is not.
In 2005, Norma attempted to use another woman's birth certificate to obtain a Colorado ID Card. She was caught and convicted of a misdemeanor. This brought her to the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They issued a deportation order on her in 2005 and that order was upheld after an appeal in 2008. Finally, on May 1st of this year, she was taken into custody.
"She is a leader in our community, in our church," said her son Hector on Friday. "I didn't think she ever tried to hurt anyone or do things the wrong way. She's just been always trying to put me and my brother first."
ICE released a statement which reads:
?Norma Galindo-Gonzales, a Mexican national, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) May 1, 2012. Ms. Galindo has an outstanding deportation order against her and was considered an immigration fugitive until her arrest. Ms. Galindo has been afforded due process in accordance with U.S. immigration law. She currently is subject to a final deportation order and remains in ICE custody pending review of her request for a Stay of Removal. ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, recent border-crossers, and egregious immigration law violators, such as those who have been previously removed from the United States or those with outstanding deportation orders. The agency exercises prosecutorial discretion, on a case by case basis, as necessary to focus resources on these priorities.?
Meanwhile, her son Hector is about to graduate with honors from Basalt High School and has a full-ride scholarship waiting for him at Duke University. He plans to study engineering this coming fall, but right now, his thoughts are on his family.
"I'm not sure if I could leave my family in the situation it is. With my dad being out at work the whole time and my brother having no one at home to kind of look after him. She's the reason I've been so successful to this point and I want my brother to have the same guidance I had."
In Basalt on Friday, reactions were mixed in the community. Some empathized with the family and others said the law is the law.
"I feel that people who have been here and who are participating in the community and are paying their taxes and want to contribute to us, I think that that's fine and that people should become part of the United States or citizens," said Julie Wager "It's the people who are creating crimes or who are not participating should be deported back."
We also spoke with Jessica McFarlane. She lives in the United States with a green card, but holds a dual Canadian-Australian citizenship. She has dealt with immigration and shared her thoughts on immigration law.
"I think it's imperfect, but I do think people need to follow the steps. I don't think that everyone should just be allowed in without doing what everyone else had to do."
And many questioned the law, citing its lack of consistency.
"In my eyes," Hector continued. "Immigration law is not perfect. I still think that many people that are a benefit to their communities get deported. I think that we need to focus more on deporting the people that aren't a great benefit to society or are hurting American society. But for example in my mom's case, she's the perfect immigrant. She's the perfect candidate to stay here."
Hector says when he gets to speak with his mother, it's only for a few minutes. Right now, the family is waiting on a possible "stay of removal", which would be a legal postponement of deportation. Her family, friends and advocacy groups like the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition are working to keep her here.