GREENSBORO, N.C. — A Greensboro woman who was supposed to be deported two days after Christmas has been allowed to stay.
Authorities said Maria Juana Perez Santiago just has to file for a stay of removal and she can remain here for another year.
NC Dream Team Representative Viriviana Martinez said Perez Santiago will file the official paperwork for the stay of removal next Wednesday.
Martinez said the decision in Perez Santiago’s case is fuel to the fire to continue to do work for others in the same situation.
“The work is worth it,” Martinez said. “We will continue to let people know about the immigration laws and show how wrong it is.”
Maria Juana Perez Santiago said she was so happy to hear the news Saturday and now she can stay with her two children who are U.S. citizens; 10-year-old Neyeli and 6-year-old Blanca.
“I’m very happy when I heard the great news and I really wanted to be here to spend time with my children on Christmas and the days after,” Perez Santiago said.
Officials said Perez Santiago was arrested in 2010 after deputies with the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office pulled her over for driving without a license.
“In my opinion, people that are stopped for not having a license should definitely get a second chance because it’s not their fault that they weren’t born here and they just come for a better place, a better stay,” Perez Santiago said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton announced Friday a change in policy for the agency.
The new “national detainer guidance” focuses on the most serious criminal offenders. The new guidance restricts detaining individuals arrested for minor misdemeanor offenses such as traffic offenses.
A protest was held Thursday at Senator Kay Hagan’s office in Greensboro to support Perez.