DOBSON, N.C. — The NC Dream Team wants to stop the possible deportation of a mother of nine after she was arrested during a routine traffic stop.
Patricia Pena said she was pulled over by police in Mecklenburg County for a broken tail light. When she could not produce a driver license Pena was arrested.
Pena is the mother of nine children, all of whom are U.S. citizens. She has been living in the U.S. since 1987 and claims a failed marriage that would have granted her citizenship left her struggling as a single parent.
“I didn’t do nothing bad. I am always working, I always am taking care of my kids,” Pena said. “I never do something like assault someone or bad things.”
Pena has already been deported once but came back to the U.S. in 2008 seeking medical care for her youngest child who suffers from epilepsy.
Pena said all her children are U.S. citizens so moving them to Mexico is impossible.
“They are U.S. citizens. It’s not easy for me to enroll them in school there because they are U.S. citizens.”
Pena works in a local restaurant, does some construction and helps a mechanic. She said she hasn’t applied for citizenship because it’s so difficult.
“You can apply and they send you to Mexico and then you wait three years to eight years over there until you be approved for that reason I can’t yet,” Pena said.
The NC Dream Team works to help undocumented immigrants and promote awareness about the need for immigration reform.
The group sponsored a vigil for Pena Monday night.