• Mother to be deported same day as children start school in Charlotte

    By: Sarah Rosario


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The first day of school can be tough for many students, but for three children in Charlotte this year, it could be even harder.

    It's also the same day their mother will be deported back to Mexico.

    Angelina Venegas came to the United States from Mexico 14 years ago illegally but all three of her children were born here.

    "I'm very worried because I was expecting good news about my case and it didn't happen," she said.

    Two years ago Venegas was arrested after she got into a car accident and was rear ended on Sugar Creek Road. According to the police report, officers charged her for not having a license.

    Soon after the accident, deportation hearings began.

    That's when organizations like The Latin American Coalition and Familias Unidas stepped in to help.

    "She has no criminal record whatsoever, yet she's being put through this. So we've gotten behind her and said yes, we want to help you try to close this case," said Latin American Coalition spokesperson Armando Bellmas.

    For the past couple of months the groups have held rallies in Charlotte and across the state to raise awareness immigration reform and cases similar to Venegas.

    Eyewitness News was there in April when their efforts helped Charlotte farther Nicolas Antonio get his case closed. The Latin American Coalition says one of the main reasons why ICE hasn't closed Venegas' case is because shortly after she was arrested they say she unknowingly signed a voluntary departure form.

    Venegas departure date has been pushed back several times.

    In may a judge allowed her to stay with her kids for the summer but ruled on Aug. 26 she has to go.

    Next Thursday, the Latin American Coalition will host a rally for mothers and children in situations like Venegas outside of Congressman Robert Pittenger's office.

    In a statement sent to Eyewitness News Pittenger said "Sadly, this case is not unique.

    The mother chose to violate U.S. laws when she did not enter the country through the established immigration process, and now she and her children are suffering the heartbreaking consequences of her decision."

    While Venegas wants her children to stay in the United States she says she may be left with no other option but to take them with her.

    The House is expected to take up immigration reform when they get back from recess after Labor Day.

    Eyewitness News reached out to other lawmakers to get their response to Venegas Case.

    Rep. Harry Warren said "On one hand, the president grants a temporary legal presence to illegally present immigrants between the ages of 15 to 30 for school and/or work, then on the other hand, tears a family apart by permitting the deportation of an illegally present parent of three dependent U.S. citizens. This action is counterintuitive to Congress' stated intent to create a pathway to citizenship for these very same people."

    In a response from U.S. Rep. Mel Watt's office Eyewitness news learned he is assisting Venegas and the Latin American Coalition in their efforts to get her case dropped.

    Due to the Privacy Release Act, they could further comment on the specifics of Venegas' case.

    Even though ICE has given Angelina a final departure date the Latin American Coalition is still hoping community support will motivate ICE to allow her to stay and close her case.

    They're asking people to call the national D.C. or Atlanta offices on Fridays. If you'd like more information, you can visit them on Facebook at <https://www.facebook.com/LatinAmericanCoalition.

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