Reporting Gigi Barnett
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — A grandmother of four is in danger of being deported back to Mexico after living in Hagerstown for the last six years. Now her family is rallying.
Gigi Barnett has their story.
Six years ago, Josefina Rodriguez-Vega, 59, came to Maryland from Mexico. She wanted to help raise her four grandchildren. Wednesday, her family and friends rallied to keep her in the U.S.
“The only thing that she wants to do is be with her family and not cause any problems,” said family friend Luis Pena.
In the coming months, Rodriguez-Vega faces deportation back to Mexico. In June, she was arrested in Hagerstown for driving without a license.
Her family thought a new pilot program approved by the Obama administration would keep Rodriguez-Vega in Maryland. The policy temporarily freezes deportation for illegal immigrants like Rodriguez-Vega who have no criminal records.
“If the pilot program had been implemented effectively, this case should not be happening. This case should be closed,” said Elizabeth Alex, Casa de Maryland.
Alex organized the rally. She’s with Casa de Maryland, a civil rights group for illegal immigrants. She says Rodriguez-Vega has no other family in Mexico.
“She has really dug roots in Hagerstown. She got very involved in the Catholic church there and that’s why so many people are here today. They saw her every Sunday,” Alex said.
Rodriguez-Vega’s son David says his family pleaded with immigration officials.
“Sometimes I feel sad and sometimes I feel angry because I don’t think it’s fair that someone of that age is in jail right now,” he said.
Immigration officials would not comment specifically on Rodriguez-Vega’s case but they did confirm that she has a criminal record. They also would not say when she would be deported.