Antonio Castelan, Alex Vazquez
Maria Romero says her wheel-chair bound 13-year-old son depends on her for everything. She has lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years, but is now facing deportation to Mexico. A local immigration rights groups says they want immigration officials to use discretion when choosing who to deport. Antonio Castelan reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 9, 2012.
Maria Romero's 13-year-old son Israel depends on her. The boy, who suffers from epilepsy, can't speak or walk.
Romeo said she helps him with all of his necessities. But now, she faces deportation to Mexico after living in the U.S. for more than 20 years.
She said she works hard, but now she has been told she must go.
Immigration rights officials used Romero's case as an example of what can happen to families when deportations take place. It may be an extreme example, but it is not unprecedented.
"What we are hoping for is ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) can utilize its discretion and they do have the discretion to approve their request of stay," said Jessica Dominguez, immigration lawyer.
According to an ICE report, during the beginning of last year, more than 50,000 parents were deported, leaving their U.S.-born children behind.
"The children that are U.S. citizens have certain rights as well and because of these children an exception should be made," Dominguez said.
Brian Honores is one of the children who may have to say goodbye to his mother, who is scheduled to head back to Peru on June first.
"Thinking of losing her would destroy my heart," he said, with tears in his eyes.
Those who support tough immigration enforcement say they are not heartless. But they feel the law must be followed.
"No one in the world would ever think or feel it is right to separate a mother and her child," said Carol Hadley of the California Federation of Republican Women. "But mothers, by their decisions, must assume full responsibility for their decisions and actions."
Mothers who face deportation say they can no longer look at the immigration debate impartially: they just want to be with their children.