Norma Cordon, 35, emigrated from Morales Izabal, Guatemala, in 1997, crossing the border with two small children in tow and, after paying thousands of dollars and facing numerous difficulties, she finally arrived in Newark, where she’s lived for 10 years, El Diario reports.
Cordon eventually had four more children. She worked and saved money, and decided to return to Guetamala with the hope of living there peacefully with her family. But Cordon had to stay in the U.S. because of financial woes.
When she tried to cross the Mexican border for a visit to her homeland, however, she was arrested and deported, the paper reports.
“I went with my two girls who aren’t American citizens. They deported me, and told me that I could not enter American territory for 10 years,” Cordon told El Diario. “But I crossed the border again, and I arrived in New Jersey.”
Life was normal until January, when Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers showed up at her daughter’s school.
Cordon was taken to a small office where they interrogated her about her immigration status. They also attached a monitoring device to her ankle, according the the publication.
“The monitoring device makes me feel ashamed, because it makes me feel like a criminal. I have to recharge the battery every four hours. I can’t live like this. I have panic attacks every time the ankle brace rings,” she told the paper. “The noise is very loud, and it doesn’t let me think. I’ve been horribly depressed. I tried to kill myself a few days ago.”‘
Cordon said that ICE would pay to send her and her two non-citizen daughters back to Guatemala. But the future of her other four children — who are U.S. citizens — remains unclear.
“If they deport me, I want to bring all of my children with me. I can’t leave my four American children in New Jersey, because the Department of Children and Families would take them from me. How can I get my children back if I am not allowed to return to the U.S.?” she told El Diario.
If Cordon brought her whole family back to Guatemala, it would cost up to $7,000, the paper reports.