(CBS News) — Carrying her bags and weighed down with emotion, Alejandra Juarez arrived at Orlando International Airport to say goodbye to her two daughters and husband, a Marine veteran. Rather than be deported, Juarez — a U.S. military wife who illegally entered the country 20 years ago — headed back to Mexico.
Juarez was ordered to deport to Mexico under President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
On Friday, she spoke directly to the president in Spanish.
“He thinks he’s punishing me, and maybe I deserve it for having come the way I did,” she said. “You’re not making me suffer more, you’re making a veteran suffer, and you always say you love veterans.”
Juarez has been in the country for two decades. She married Marine veteran Sgt. Temo Juarez, a naturalized American citizen who served two years in combat in Iraq. Their daughters were born in the U.S.
“My mom is a good person and she’s not a criminal so f*** ICE,” one of her daughters said.
Her undocumented status was exposed five years ago during a routine traffic stop. She was ordered to check in with ICE agents twice a year since she was considered a low priority case.
Her husband, who voted for Mr. Trump, said he didn’t think that vote would affect his family.
They’ve spent $20,000 on legal bills fighting to stay together.
Rep. Darren Soto said that fight is not over.
“What justice does this serve,” he said. “We couldn’t even get the Trump administration to work on this particular case with a military spouse who has done everything helping her husband’s service to this country.
CBS News reached out to ICE but did not hear back as of Friday evening.
The family’s plan is to split up, with the younger daughter joining their mother in Mexico and the older daughter staying with their father, who has said in reports that he doesn’t blame President Trump for his wife’s departure.
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