After 30 Years Building Life In America, San Diego Woman Deported Again To Mexico
Thursday, January 2, 2020
Photo by Matthew Bowler
A San Diego mother who illegally entered the country more than three decades ago was deported to Tijuana on Thursday. Rocio Rebollar Gomez, 50, and her family have been fighting for years to keep her in the United States.
Rebollar Gomez is a mother of three who illegally entered the country in the 1980's. In the time since then she has built a family, bought a home, paid taxes and held a job. Over the years, she has illegally entered the country three times. She was deported in 2009 and re-entered shortly thereafter. Then in 2018 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) apprehended her. The agency tells KPBS she was informed last month her options to stay were exhausted, and she was due to be deported on Thursday.
Before she met with federal authorities she pleaded, hoping for a miracle, to stay in the U.S.
"Truly separating from my family would be something terrible for everyone — it would affect not just my life but also my children and my grandchildren," Rebollar Gomez said in Spanish, outside the ICE building downtown. "I’m asking for an opportunity I’d like to stay with my family. Don’t take me away because all of my family is here and my life is here."
Thursday morning, with her son and attorney by her side, she walked into the downtown ICE building. But no miracle arrived. Within the next hour she was deported to Tijuana, Mexico.
"It’s a hard feeling having to say goodbye to my mother," said her son, Gilbram Cruz.
Cruz joined the U.S. Army in the hopes that it would allow her to stay in the country.
"All I was asking for was the policies that have been set in place to do exactly what they were there to do — keep my family safe," Cruz said.
Now he wonders what will happen to his mom in Mexico.
"My biggest fear was what people were going to do to her once she crossed over," Cruz said. "Knowing her case and knowing she’s got family over here, she’s going to get extorted for money, abducted."
Rebollar Gomez’s attorney said the fight to keep her in the U.S. was an uphill battle, and the end result was not shocking. Now she will have to wait at least 10 years to be eligible for legal re-entry. Unless federal immigration policy changes, her attorney said she does not see a way to legally bring her back to the U.S.
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