Fight to save grandmother convicted of DUI from deportation continues

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Family, friends and local activists staged a rally outside federal immigration offices in Phoenix and demanded the release of Elva Bernal, who has lived in the country illegally for 30 years. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Family, friends and local activists staged a rally outside federal immigration offices in Phoenix and demanded the release of Elva Bernal, who has lived in the country illegally for 30 years. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Bernal's family says deporting her would be cruel. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Bernal's family says deporting her would be cruel. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Elva Bernal is a grandmother to six children. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Elva Bernal is a grandmother to six children. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The fight to free a Valley grandmother who now faces deportation after a drunk driving conviction continued on Thursday.

Family, friends and local activists staged a rally outside federal immigration offices in Phoenix and demanded the release of Elva Bernal, who has lived in the country illegally for 30 years.

RELATED: Family trying to keep grandmother from being deported

Bernal reported to the Maricopa County Jail on Wednesday to serve out her DUI punishment -- a 24-hour stint in Tent City .

By the following morning, she was in federal custody and her fate now rests in the hands of an immigration judge. 

"She was being responsible by turning herself in, knowing that this could have happened, but she did it anyway," Jade Talavera, Bernal's daughter, said. "Not everybody has the courage to do that so I felt really betrayed and sad."

The federal government has made it a priority to deport anyone living here illegally who has committed a more serious crime.

Those crimes, according to Homeland Security, include anything that threatens national security, border security and public safety. As a threat to public safety, drunk driving qualifies.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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