Human Trafficking Victim Facing Deportation Over Expired Visa
According to a report by the Miami Herald, an immigrant deemed a human trafficking victim has been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because her visa is expired. The woman, identified only as Ana, fled a family for whom she worked for $3 an hour, for 13-hour workdays. She also was denied health care and the family monitored her communications, warning her that if she did not cooperate, she would be deported to her native Colombia and lose the temporary work visa the family had obtained for her.
In October 2016, Ana worked up the courage to leave the family and filed a complaint against her employer with federal officials. In August, the Department of Labor ruled that she was the victim of “a severe form of human trafficking.” But after she fled the upscale Miami home where she had worked and slept on the floor, she was detained by ICE and now faces the prospect of deportation.
The Miami Herald continues:
Wait, before you go…
“This is the worst thing that ever happened to me,” Ana said during a brief telephone interview from the Broward Transitional Center, an immigrant detention facility in Pompano Beach. El Nuevo Herald is not using the real name because of fears of reprisals against Ana and her two young children, who are still in Colombia. She has applied for a special visa for victims of human trafficking.
For many lawyers and advocates, Ana’s case highlights contradictions within the U.S. government. The Department of Labor has concluded that she is a victim of human trafficking who must be protected. But she has been locked up for months under the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—even as the Department of Labor investigated her case.
Since her detention four months ago, lawyers for two non-profit organizations have been trying to win her release while her labor exploitation case is pending. But an immigration judge had repeatedly denied bond, ruling that she is a flight risk because of a theft accusation pending in Miami—filed by the family that once employed her.
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