Local Mother and Domestic Abuse Survivor Facing Immediate Deportation
On Tuesday morning about 25 people gathered outside the federal building in downtown Grand Rapids to rally in support of Victoria Lorenzo-Calmo. Victoria is facing deportation to her native Guatemala as soon as Wednesday after unknowingly signing a voluntary deportation document, which will leave her three children either without a mother or without much needed medical care. All of Victoria’s children are U.S. citizens.
Victoria fled to the United States from an abusive husband in her homeland, wherein she was once beaten to the point of miscarriage four months into her pregnancy. Victoria, threatened with death and few options, fled to the States in 2001, where she has since found a loving partner who is the father of her three children. Two of Victoria’s children, Jaqueline, 7, and Jason, 2, have cochlear implants and will inevitably go deaf if forced to go to Guatemala with their mother, where proper medical care is not available.
At the ralley, one of Victories children held a sign reading “Don’t deport my mom”.
As the community members gathered around Victoria and her children in the cold morning air, their mother pleaded to the crowd, passersby, and the press. “We will have no medicine, no means to meet our basic needs. We need each other and will fight for each other”. Victoria’s children are not being forced to leave the country, leaving their mother with the impossible choice of bringing them with her to a place where life will be a continual struggle and they will go deaf, or leave them here where she will never see them again. This rally could be some of the last time they will spend together as a family.
Left with few other options, protesters turned to prayer and the support from a higher power multiple times during the demonstration. One supporter said, “I know God will fill his purpose [and prevent deportation] of these innocent kids, who would get no medical attention.”
Victoria herself said she felt “very emotional that so many people came out in support [of her]” because of how difficult deportation will be on her family. Given the circumstances she fled from, Victoria believes her life will be at risk in Guatemala.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had initially given Victoria a “differed action”, effected prolonging her stay in the United States, however this action has been suddenly been denied and Victoria is expected to arrive at the ICE office on Wednesday, March 6th, prepared to leave the country.
Supporters are urged to call Khaalid Walls in Detroit at 313-226-0726 and John Morton at ICE @ 202-732-3000. The following script and talking points have been provided, as they have been effective in the past:
“I am calling to ask that you please use discretion in deporting Victoria Lorenzo-Calmo (A# 096-166-869). Her children need her and they cannot leave the country. Please do not deport Victoria.”
<> Victoria was once beaten so badly by her ex-husband that she lost the baby she had been carrying for four months.
<> If she returns to Guatemala with her children, all of their lives are in danger with the threats against her.
<> If she returns to Guatemala without her children, she will never see them again.