Piedmont grandmother who faces deportation has application to extend her stay accepted

GREENSBORO, N.C. – A Piedmont grandmother who faces deportation had her application to extend her stay accepted at a hearing Friday.

Juana Ortega’s application was previously denied in April. The family expects to know if the application is approved by next week.

Lesvi Molina says she is glad immigration is looking at her mother’s application, but says the family is still uneasy because Juana could still be deported.

The family is hoping she gets a one year extension, just like she has for the last six years.

Ortega has lived in the United States for more than 20 years. She came here to escape violence in Guatemala and received asylum status.

She married a US citizen and now has two children and grandchildren who are citizens.

Ortega had to leave suddenly when her daughter back in Guatemala got deathly ill. Ortega didn’t have time to wait weeks for permission to leave and her asylum was revoked.

She came back to the United States illegally, raised a family and checked in with immigration officials every year and they allowed her to stay.

Last month Ortega was told she would not be allowed to stay and is getting deported.

Local activist Andrew Willis Garces says immigration can grant an extension anywhere from 3 months to 2 years.

He said about 45 people came to her hearing on Friday to support her.