A Grover Beach mother whom liberal activists and politicians rallied to save from deportation was sent to Mexico on Thursday. [Tribune]
Neofita Valerio-Silva, 47, came to the United States illegally 25 years ago. Valerio-Silva is a mother of three children, one of whom is a minor, as well as a Grover Beach homeowner. She had recently been working recently as a maid at a local hotel.
On Wednesday, the Santa Maria Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office denied Valerio-Silva’s request for a stay of her deportation. Authorities then transported Valerio-Silva to the Adelanto Processing Center in Victorville. On Thursday afternoon, she was taken to Tijuana, Mexico.
All of Valerio-Silva’s children were born in the United States. The oldest of her three children, 23-year-old Susan Bernal, is a medical assistant who currently lives in San Diego. Valerio-Silva’s 18-year-old son is a college student, and her 16-year-old daughter is a cheerleader at Arroyo Grande High School.
Valerio-Silva also has a husband, who lives in Mexico in the Acapulco area. Her mother, too, is in Mexico.
Bernal said her mother was very distressed during the deportation process. ICE did not allow her to make phone calls or talk to anyone on Thursday, Bernal said.
The 23-year-old medical assistant said she was planning on visiting her mother in Tijuana on Thursday night and coordinating with her father, Valerio-Silva’s husband, as to where she would stay. Bernal said she is now searching for jobs on the Central Coast and is planning to move back to Grover Beach to help her brother and sister. The three siblings are just trying to keep their Grover Beach house, Bernal said.
Prior to her deportation, Valerio-Silva received support from Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal. In a letter to ICE, Carbajal stated that Valerio-Silva never committed a crime beyond entering the United States and that criminals, not the Grover Beach woman, deserved to be deported.
Dawn Addis, a coordinator of the San Luis Obispo Women’s March also led an unsuccessful campaign to upend the deportation. Valerio-Silva, too, received support from Grover Beach Mayor Pro Tem Miriam Shah and San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon.
Supporters of Valerio-Silva blamed the Trump Administration, saying it removed the discretion ICE officials formerly had in deportation cases and forced ICE to target immigrants who are not dangerous criminals.
However, Lori Haley, an ICE official, said Valerio-Silva’s deportation was ordered in 2005. ICE granted Valerio-Silva a total of six stays off her deportation while she appealed her case to federal courts, Haley said.
Valerio-Silva now faces a 10-year ban from legally reentering the United States. But, she can apply for a waiver from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to Carbajal’s office.