Surry County mother faces deportation, celebrates possible final Thanksgiving

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DOBSON, N.C. -- Patricia Pena-Martinez faces separation from her nine children with the possibility of deportation back to Mexico.

Pena-Martinez has lived in North Carolina for 17 years and currently lives in Dobson. Thursday she prepared for what could be her last Thanksgiving in the United States.

"We can take it like the last day together, or a day with a big hope," Pena-Martinez said.

In January 2012 she was pulled over by police for a broken taillight. When she could not provide identification Pena-Martinez was arrested as an undocumented immigrant and served six months in jail.

Monday she plans to turn herself into U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Charlotte where authorities will determine her status.

Pena-Martinez said for the past two years she has feared what will come next but on Thanksgiving Day planned to enjoy the time she has with her family.

"I'm enjoying living here because it's different when you go to Mexico," Pena-Martinez said. “I feel safe, secure. I feel good here."

The North Carolina Dream Team, a group who advocates for undocumented immigrants, will also be in attendance with Pena-Martinez Monday in Charlotte.

52 comments

  • Linda Paschal

    Where is the children’s father? Did she collect welfare from US citizens while she has been here? Why should I as a taxpayer keep up her and all the kids? I am tired of paying for everyone else but myself not to mention she is not a citizen of this country. If I had my way neither would the kids. If you have them, please pay to rear them. Don’t ask me to pay for your family.

  • mike jones

    Come on. I am against amnesty but I am starting to feel like singling out people on an individual basis like in this woman’s case is wrong. We bust illegals daily for crimes like assault, DWI, drug offences and even animal cruelty. Rarely are they deported or even threatened with deportation. I’m no “bleeding heart” but, this woman has been here 17 years!! She probably holds a job and is a productive member of society. Just saying… If your going to deport people start with the ones in the Guilford County Detention Center. They don’t deserve a day in court and should have no promised or implied Constitutional rights!!

  • mike jones

    As far as the comments about welfare and kids and all of that….Do you have any idea how many kids and parents that are citizens we support as tax payers??? I am a single parent and work everyday to provide for my family with no help from the government ever! If you want to jump on a soapbox then do it in front of the Social Security Commission when the lazy, not willing to work bums come to sign up for their benefits. That’s where the problem really starts.

  • Rogue

    To the comment that she is a “productive member of society”. I say she’s a reproductive member of society.Send her and her 9 kids to Mexico on a one-way ticket.

  • Suzi

    If she could not provide identification, that means she was driving without a license. Right? Everyone PLEASE stop acting as if this is an honest law abiding citizen…she had 17 years to apply for citizenship…

  • Rob H

    The half news that’s reported today. They gave us the “poor pitiful me” side, now where’s the fact side… 1. 17 here & never applied, 2. Each one of those children are receiving tax payer provide benefits, 3. She was caught driving without a licenses! This means she probably doesn’t have insurance either! what if she accidentally hit a law abiding tax payer. THIS is why our insurance in America is going through the roof!! We are footing the bill for Illegals. I care about people too but we can’t continue to rob Peter to Pay Paul. Our politicians on both sides f the isle are destroying America! .

    • Bill Snead

      I know a couple from Rockingham County, that were out riding their motorcycles about a year ago, when an illegal immigrant driving his automobile,with no lights on, pulled out in front of them . The results were that the man was killed and his wife was seriously injured. Of course the illegal immigrant had no insurance, job, or other ways to compensate the family.

  • Julio

    Is she going to die? Why would this probably be her last Thanksgiving? Common people, stop the drama and report what is relevant.

  • PeteandCarrie Hutchens

    Another story, where you as a Law abiding Citizen are expected to support someone who broke the law 17 yrs ago and as of today still has not made it right. but YOU are expected to feel guilty ! Right ? She has had 17 Thanksgiving’s to make it right and to me that right there is the story , not that the system has finally caught up with her!

  • Tim

    She is an illegal…get her out of here. Poor soul got to spend 17 years here living tax free and I am sure was given plenty of handouts. Now get out of the Unites States and go back to Mexico to just try and sneak back in….I can careless about you spending your final Thanksgiving here – we have soldiers fighting for our country who did not get to spend Thanksgiving with their families and some will never get to spend another due to dieing in combat. So again, tough turkey lady, your an illegal…you should have been sent home as soon as you were unable to verify your legal status!

  • Carlos

    Who are you to say this lady got welfare benefits? You are done absent minded ignorant people to say ALL hispanic families use the gov’t, most hold jobs and pay taxes as well.. There is numerous of caucasian individuals and families purposely mooch taxpayer Money for no reason..it’s not a race thing people, it’s about coming together to make a change not criticize individuals. Open your eyes and mind before you open your mouth.

    • Stephen Melton

      Not, its not a race thing…its a legal issue.
      I know this might seem hard to grasp, but illegal is illegal. What you suggest is the same as giving a free pass to her had she say, robbed a bank to take care of her kids, and with nine of them, its a pretty good bet shes on some sort of assistance, as most families with only two or three children have a hell of a time making ends meet…much less with a basketball team to feed…clothe, and keep a roof over their heads.
      What you seem to want to suggest, is to reward breaking the law, with a free pass.

  • Derrin Ger

    17 years to do what is right. Refused to.
    17 years to apply for citizenship, get a green card, drivers license. Refused to.
    17 years of working tax free jobs while collecting benefits for her and her brood.
    Driving illegally with no insurance and yet this writer wants to paint a picture of woe for this person?
    What about those that have stood for years and done what is right year after year, while our jobs go over seas and Uncle Sam keeps both hands in our our pockets to support his projects and such uncaring as this woman that you have so prominantly portrayed here in this article. Color me disgusted.

  • Carlos

    And I guess your family have always been in the U.S. right? Nobody remember the native Americans? Or settlers coming here? any body? Read up on some history, YOU’RE AN IMMIGRANT TOO!

    • Peggy Diamond

      You are absolutely right my ancestors were immigrants in the 1800. They had the character and dignity to come to this country to better themselves LEGALLY. They did not want a hand out they worked for there citizenship and were proud AMERiCANS. They did not stand in line to buy products worth $411 and whip out that red white and blue card and pay $10.00. They had a moral compass, plus and most important they could speak English. I figure if you can’t speak English you are illegal because you have to speak English to become a US citizen. Illegal is means it is against the law. Any American would be charged and jailed so welcome to America.

    • FaithC

      My great grandparents came here after they saved enough to do so. The did it LEGALLY. They got jobs as so as they got here. They became citizens and paid taxes. My fathers aide has been here from before the revolution. The point is they came LEGALLY, they did not break the law!!!!!!!

      If you are here illegally you need to be sent home, you are breaking the law.

  • Debbie Smith

    I just feel it is sad when we have elderly people that are citizens in this country who have worked hard all their lives and paid taxes and can’t get any assistance and living on a fixed income. Some have to decide whether to buy food or medicine,
    and there are others out there who are not citizens and haven’t contributed any taxes and expect the fruits of being a us citizen. I mean take care of our own first especially the elderly!!!

    • cynthiajd

      The racial breakdown of welfare benefits doled out by race is as follows: Blacks acquire 39.8% of welfare benefits. They are followed closely behind by whites at 38.8%; who are then followed by Hispanics at 15.7%; those classified as other fall at 3.3%; while the Asians lag in at 2.4%.

      worried about your benefits? go bark at the white trash people.

  • lisa

    CRY US A RIVER GO BACK TO MEXICO AND TAKE YOUR KIDS WITH YOU ,AMERICAN CITIZENS CANT AFFORD TO BUY MEDICATION AND GET NO HELP . DSS IS ALWAYS FULL OF MEXICANS WANTING HAND OUTS, MY OPINION IS EVEN IF THEY DO COME HERE LEGAL THEY SHOULD NOT BE ELLIGABLE FOR ANY BENEFITS SUCH AS FOODSTAMPS WIC AFDC OR ANY OTHER BENEFITS THAT WERE INTENDED FOR AMERICANS. SEND HER TAIL PACKING ALONG WITH HER KIDS RIGHT IS RIGHT AND WRONG IS WRONG LOOK AT IT THIS WAY 10 LESS ILLEGALS TO DEAL WITH . SHE KNEW WHEN SHE CROSSED SHE WAS WRONG AND SHE DID IT ANYWAY. SHE GOT WHAT SHE DESERVED WHEN SHE GOT CAUGHT . SHE HOPED WHEN SHE STARTED BREEDIND THIS WOULD KEEP HER HERE SHE KNEW WHAT SHE WAS DOING WHEN SHE CROSSED THAT BORDER GLAD SHE GOT CAUGHT HOPE THE ICE PPL DO THEIR JOB AND SEND HER AND HER KIDS AND THE DREAM TEAM BACK .

    • cynthiajd

      The racial breakdown of welfare benefits doled out by race is as follows: Blacks acquire 39.8% of welfare benefits. They are followed closely behind by whites at 38.8%; who are then followed by Hispanics at 15.7%; those classified as other fall at 3.3%; while the Asians lag in at 2.4%.

      read up on the economy and you’ll find out who’s really getting free money off of you. point said. oooooh… burn.

  • Debra

    She needs to go back … She had 17 years to become a citizen of this country, No more Free rides for you and your kids need to go with ya !!!

  • pat banta (@dobydog1)

    she is an illegal and has no right to be here. why has she been alowed to stay here so long? how has she been living since she cannot legally work here or recieve money from the government. even if her kids are anchor babies, she is welcome to take them back to mexico with her. it is time we have immigration enforcement.

    • cynthiajd

      The racial breakdown of welfare benefits doled out by race is as follows: Blacks acquire 39.8% of welfare benefits. They are followed closely behind by whites at 38.8%; who are then followed by Hispanics at 15.7%; those classified as other fall at 3.3%; while the Asians lag in at 2.4%.

  • Sandra

    If people would have read about this story when it first appeared it stated that she worked multiple jobs. She has been here for 17 years an has 9 US citizen children that can’t go to Mexico. People are cold hearted let me rip your kids from your arms an see how you feel. They need to let that woman stay.

    • pat banta (@dobydog1)

      Actually her children should have joint citizenship since she is mexican so that they can go back with her. If she has worked multiple jobs then we also have multiple employers who illegally hired her. According to the 1986 immigration law, employers who hire illegals are supposed to be fined for giving them jobs. So now not only is she a criminal but she has created other criminals. Also the 2nd time a person crossed the border illegally; the person is committing a felony. so if she ever was deported or went home in those 17 years she became not only an illegal but also a felon.

    • Stephen Melton

      No, I think most get it, but anchor babies no longer matter much…particularly if shes been here 17 years and has 9..
      Do we give a free pass to a parent who goes and robs a bank and has 9 kids?
      The part the bleeding hearts dont seem to get, is illegal, is illegal.

    • lisa

      maybe she should have thought of that when she came here illegal if she had she would not have started breeding . and she can take her kids with her back where she belongs. those s were not with her in jail for 6 months. Go to any DSS office in NC and take a look around 9 out of every 10 people there are Hispanic . she is getting what she deserves

  • lorin

    @ sandra…im pretty sure she knew 17 yrs ago when she decided to come here and have kids, tht there was a chance of her getting caught and sent back, without having her citizenship. So before she started birthing her herd, she shldve been concened with becoming LEGAL. Had she done so, there wld be no question of whether shes gna be deported while her kids remain here!! Our american citizens have trouble providing for their families due to lack of jobs and here shes ILLEGAL and has had 9 and probably living more comfortable than alot of us americans.

  • Dream Team

    Ignorant people making ignorant comments without even knowing her or what all she has done. Just because she is an “illegal” you automatically assume that she lives off the government? Get real. I know many “Americans” that live off the government while “illegals” on the other hand go out there and try to find any job they can to support their families. Should those “Americans” be deported too?

    • lisa

      no because the key word you said was AMERIAN;S we are legal here she is not legal And she should have tried to get legal before she birthed a whole football team of kids . SEND HER BACK

      • Dream Team

        Can you be any more ignorant? You’re complaining about people living off of the government and your tax money but you’re trying to justify when “americans” do it just because they were born here. You should worry about schooling instead of whether or not “illegals” are living off of the government because apparently the school you went to didn’t do a good job at educating you.

      • Stephen Melton

        @ Dream Team: Actually, those of us that have complained about payig taxes to feed those that are here ILLEGALLY have every right to . We also dont like leeches that feed off the system because they can. The idea of someone who broke a law and then getting rewarded for it really steams a few of us who did get educated in what made this country.
        As far as schooling goes, my wife is a former teacher, and had to coddle and allow those children of those illegals to get a free pass, altho it created a hardship on those that could actually speak English and understand what was being taught. She also had to deal with more of it than you ever will, as she taught in Southern California.
        When you whine and cry that we dont care, its true…I dont care that a lawbreaker might be sent back home and forced to do things right.
        When you give a free pass to these people, no matter where they are from, you might as well give a free pass to anyone who breaks any law.

    • Lora

      To believe in the law is exactly what we need. More power to the ones that speak out.
      The Dream Team may do a lot of good, but other feelings have to be considered.
      Do the math, this woman has been here for 17 years, had 9 children, now 3 grandchildren added to the herd. This means that 3 young teenagers gave birth. she had no children when she arrived in the US.
      This is disgusting. Did she come here to breed or to seek a better life.
      Where is the father or fathers.
      The father’s need to be found if she is deported. Are they supporting their children? Will they come forward to support and care for the little ones. If she is allowed to remain in the US, the father needs to be identified so he can be forced to support the children. That needs to be investigated.
      Its time we speak out.

  • denise

    united states is not nothing without immigrants
    & thats what yall cant stand .. united states knows what good for it.

  • angela gordon

    we are all immigrants unless you are from Africa who where brought here against their will . Or native americans who lived here before all the other people. Americans need to get over there better than all attitude. That attitude is what make other places hate us.

Comments are closed.