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February 28, 2020

Mother arrested by ICE at South Philly school now faces deportation

Agents told the woman, who is three months pregnant, that she has 45 days to leave the U.S.

The mother arrested by ICE while dropping off her child for preschool at a South Philly elementary school earlier this month is facing deportation. 

Veronica del Carmen Lara Marquez, 32, now has less than 45 days to leave the country, ICE officials told the Inquirer earlier this week. The agents said ICE is carrying out a 2012 order for Lara Marquez to be removed from the United States.

Lara Marquez is from El Salvador. She had settled in Virginia in 2011 when she came to the U.S. seeking asylum, the Daily Mail reported. She was in the immigration courts system and appears to have been following a path to potentially legally residing in this country when she met the father of her daughter and relocated with him to Philadelphia.

That's when she started missing important court dates, ICE officials old Philly Voice.

"In May 2012, an immigration judge (in Virginia) issued Lara Marquez a final order of removal in absentia," ICE officials told Philly Voice in a statement, meaning Lara Marquez did show up to her hearing. 

ICE did not explain why it is acting on the eight-year-old court order now, or provide information regarding the case and Lara Marquez' documentation.

Fast-forward to Feb. 11, 2020, Lara Marquez gets arrested while dropping off her 4-year-old daughter at Eliza B. Kirkbride Elementary School in South Philly, but then is released the same day. ICE officials said that "officers arrested Carmen Lara-Marquez, 30, near her residence in Philadelphia pursuant to that order." They notably listed a different age for her than The Inquirer as well. 

That agents picked her up at the school during school hours was a surprise to School District of Philadelphia officials.

Mostly ICE operates under a "sensitive location" policy that generally discourages agents from detaining people at schools, hospitals, churches, funerals and weddings.

Officials said Lara Marquez was released that day for "humanitarian reasons," likely to care for her daughter, but she remains under orders to leave the country. 

The Inquirer reported that in addition to having her young daughter, Lara Marquez is three months pregnant, which ICE didn't comment about if it could affect her impending deportation. ICE officials said they are investigating her case further. Meanwhile, she is in ICE's "Intensive Supervision Appearance Program," where she is being monitored prior to the end of the 45 days.

The Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP) is designed for immigrants who are considered low-risk enough that they do not pose a threat to public safety,  but who are also at a higher risk for failing to appear at future immigration hearings or appointments. 

Marquez failed to show up to her immigration hearing in the past, so she likely fell under that category of "higher risk." Those under the program are not kept in ICE prisons, but they are monitored via technology – like ankle bracelets and telephone monitoring systems – along with visits from ICE personnel.

"The decision not to place her in ICE custody does not undue the immigration judge’s removal order," said ICE to Philly Voice. "Ms. Lara-Marquez must comply with the order of the court."

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