High school students in a Chicago suburb welcomed a classmate who had spent four months in an immigration detention center fighting a possible deportation to Honduras.
Students and staff at Crystal Lake Central High School raised over $ 10,000 at GoFundMe to pay for the release of their classmate Meydi Guzman and the subsequent legal fees to fight their immigration case.
Guzman, 18, a senior, fled Honduras with her father Fabio Guzman-Reyes two years ago to seek US asylum after gang members sexually assaulted Guzman, according to their lawyers Kevin Bruning and Nathan Reyes.
Guzman released Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Thursday after Sara Huser, Guzman’s school counselor, deposited $ 2,000 in bail.
“I’m really happy and thankful for all the people who have helped me,” Guzman told reporters outside a federal building in the Chicago area.
Huser brought the teenager home.
“I am really, really blessed and so happy that she is coming to my family, back to Crystal Lake, back to school, back to her life,” said Huser at a press conference.
Both Guzman and her father reached the U.S.-Mexico border, where they were stopped by border guards in 2018. They were released and should appear before the Immigration Court for their hearings.
The father and daughter missed a hearing in Chicago on February 28, 2019, according to Bruning and Reyes, because planning for paperwork may have been confused. They appeared in court on October 16 when they were unexpectedly arrested and taken to an immigration prison in southern Illinois.
“It was very difficult. The truth was that I wasn’t prepared for it. I never thought I would be in prison when I was 18,” said Guzman in Spanish at a press conference.
ICE did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
Her release means that Guzman will return to school and may stay on the right track to graduate with her classmates in May. However, her father is still in ICE detention in Kankakee County Prison.
Reyes and Bruning have filed an application for asylum on behalf of Guzman and asked a judge to reject the Guzman removal order, The Associated Press reported.
Both attorneys are working on the case free of charge, NBC’s Chicago, WMAQ subsidiary reported.
“We accepted this case without a second thought. This is about doing the right thing for this young woman, ”said Reyes in a statement.
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