FRESNO, Calif. - A wife and mother of two is facing deportation after living in the US since 1989. Her lawyer is fighting to keep her from being sent to Mexico. A letter was sent to Maria Barrera a week ago telling her to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thursday morning. She has to leave the country by June 12, her husband's birthday.
The Barrera family holds each other's hands inside the Immigration Law Office. Father, son and daughter hold onto the matriarch who could be ripped away from them in a month.
"It's sad to see her like that," said her daughter Emily.
Immigration attorney Isabel Machado says Barrera would have likely been deported Thursday but her daughter Emily graduates high school in June so ICE officials granted Barrera an extension.
"It's going to be devastating because I would like her to be in every step through my path, through my career and all that," said Emily.
Machado says her client's previous lawyer made an error years ago by telling Barrera to remain in the states while appealing a voluntary grant of departure. Machado say Barrera lost the case and it's now closed.
"And the court must reopen her removal proceedings in order for her to apply for the benefit for which she is eligible," said Machado.
For years Machado says she's filed for stay of removal multiple times but President Trumps new enforcement policies will remove Barrera from the states.
"Her stay of removal was denied," said Machado.
Barrera tells me she is scared to be separated from her family but still loves this country where she says she spent more than half of her life and where she met her husband who she will potentially say goodbye to on his birthday. Machado says if ICE does in fact deport Barrera she does not have immediate relatives who could qualify her for the two waivers she needs to return legally.
"So she will be stuck in Mexico," said Machado.
Emily says preparing to losing her best friend is too hard to fathom.
"It's like me missing apart of me," said Emily.