• October 4th, 2023
  • Wednesday, 11:25:48 AM

Terminally-Ill Domestic Worker Awaits ICE Decision

Photo: CIP Americas September 26th marked three years since the search began for the 43 students disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero.

Reina Gómez, an undocumented domestic worker leader from Honduras who migrated to South Florida over 12 years, has been living a nightmare in the past month due to ICE’s new policy. Fortunately this morning she was able to come back out from her last check-in at the ICE Field Office in Miramar, FL, instead of becoming a new victim of ICE’s silent raids and sent to deportation. However, ICE has given her an order of supervision while they make a final decision on her case in the coming weeks.

“Today’s decision of letting me go was a small victory for me and my community, even though it’s only temporary. I hope they make the right decision because if I am deported back to Honduras, my life will be literally at risk,” says Reina Gómez, who is currently being treated for a rare form of cancer and needs medication every three months in order to survive. “I am thankful for my community who formed a circle of protection and joined me to every check-in with ICE. We must keep organizing to protect each other during these times, because this administration cannot take our hope and our community away from us.”

“Right now we must protect each other because we’re all we’ve got. It’s important to keep exposing what is really going on at this ICE office where people go in but never come back out.”

Reina requested asylum after fleeing Honduras but was denied and, instead, given a removal order. Since then, she has tried to find a legal way to stay in this country. When Reina received the date of her next immigration appointments at the ICE Field Office, after seeing how things have changed with the new administration, she sent a call for help to her community and they formed a circle of protection mobilizing people to accompany her to the appointments. During her last check-in on June 27th she was granted only 30 days to prove she cannot receive medical treatment in Honduras to treat her disease. Today, she came out with the order of supervision which will allow her to apply for a work permit and the promise of a decision in about two weeks.

“We are happy to see Reina come back to her community and to her job as a domestic worker where she contributes to the wellbeing and the economy of several families in South Florida,” says Marcia Olivo, Executive Director of the Miami Workers Center, the organization where Reina is a leader in the fight to win immigration and labor protection for undocumented domestic workers. “We will keep fighting for Reina and for all immigrants. We need real immigration reform that grants a path to citizenship, not an unfair system that tricks people into reporting to authorities in order to speed their deportation and tear them apart from their families.”

María Bilbao, a South Florida Organizer for United We Dream, explained, “This is an example of what our community can do to stop deportations. Right now we must protect each other because we’re all we’ve got. It’s important to keep exposing what is really going on at this ICE office where people go in but never come back out. Currently they are targeting people with deportation orders and for driving without a driver’s license. But their next target will be people with DACA and TPS if we don’t protect these programs which are our only protection from deportation. Let’s protect DACA and TPS!”