A Las Vegas family is fighting for the release of their mother after they say she was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers last week.
According to the Gomez family, Cecilia Gomez, 46, visited an immigration office in Las Vegas on March 27 for what she thought would be a routine interview to get her green card.
"I was like good luck mom you're going to become a citizen soon," remembers her 18-year-old son Ricardo Avalar-Gomez.
Gomez is the mother of three boys, who were all born in the United States. Her oldest son currently attends Wesleyan University, while her other two boys attend magnet middle and high schools in Las Vegas.
"She had a dream home, she had a dream car, and we were doing good in school all she wanted was to become a citizen," Ricardo said.
According to family and immigration advocates, once Gomez was detained by immigration officers, she was physically assaulted and taken to several different detention centers across the country.
"She was assaulted, intimidated and coerced," said supporter Bliss Requa-Trautz with the Las Vegas Worker's Center
Currently, Gomez is being held at a detention center in Eloy, Az.
Gomez's lawyers say she does not have any criminal history, but when she was detained ICE officers informed the mother, she faced a deportation removal order. According to Gomez, she never received an order to go to court.
"The notice to appear in the court was sent to what today is a donut shop in Los Angeles, and she's never lived in Los Angeles," said Requa-Trautz. "She was shocked."
The United State Citizenship and Immigration Services office did not comment on Gomez's case. They sent 13 Action News the following statement:
"USCIS conducts interviews to determine an applicant's eligibility for the benefit sought, including providing the applicant an opportunity to provide additional details relevant to adjudicating that benefit, while taking the existence of a final order into account."
The Gomez family have currently petitioned to reopen the deportation removal case in hopes of clearing their mother's name.
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