PHOENIX -- After being detained for two and a half years by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Eloy, Arizona, 39-year-old Maria Hernadez said she thought it was some sort of joke when suddenly last Saturday she was told she could go home.
“Oh my lord. I could not believe it, I was very very happy,” said Hernandez. “But when they said home I was afraid they would send me back to my country.”
Instead Maria was allowed to go home to her husband, a legal resident, and her daughter, a U.S. citizen.
Maria has been locked up in Eloy for two years and three months, appealing her order of deportation.
Initially, she was arrested and convicted of two felonies back in 2010.
“I took something that wasn’t mine,” said Hernandez referring to the shop lifting charge. “I had with me the fake documents that I was using for work.”
Maria served her 60 day sentence in Maricopa County’s Estrella jail.
Then she was transferred to ICE.
Saturday when she was released she said she was never told why but after two years of detention her attorney believes it must have to do with the budget cuts.
“The difference between individuals released and people who continue to be detained are the type of offenses they committed,” said immigration attorney Mercedes Ryden. “Maria was likely released given the fact she is not a violent criminal, has significant ties here in the U.S. and is not a flight risk.”
Plus, Maria has an incentive to cooperate with her supervised release, after all she wants to stay in the U.S. and her case is on its way to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.