On March 11, Emily Samantha Ruiz was sent to Guatemala as the result of an immigration quagmire in which her parents, who are undocumented immigrants, couldn’t retrieve her from authorities without threat of deportation. According to her father Leonel Ruiz, customs officials never even offered him the opportunity to pick up Emily, much less assure for safety against deportation.
Now, it appears that Emily is almost home. The twitter account of her lawyer, David Sperling, announced just after 11pm EST that they’re currently nearing the end of their journey:
On final leg. So many to thank for assistance, esp. Rep. Steve Israel, took courageous stand from beginning.
I flew to Guatemala City on Monday with Emily’s lawyer, David Sperling, and two of his staff members. That night, I met with Emily, her father, Luis Dubón, and her aunt, Rebeca Dubón, and was permitted to document the meeting through video and photos, which have since been distributed to a wide range of outlets, including CNN.
At the end of the night, we parted ways, and by the morning, I was under the impression that Emily and her legal team had left for Long Island. Through the course of the day, I realized that their departure had been delayed, but according to the Twitter account of Emily’s legal team, they’re en route to the New York area at this moment.
The group seems to have had no problems with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the government agency that sent Emily to Guatemala in the first place. Via Sperling’s Twitter account, less than an hour ago:
What a turnabout! Cbp officer in Miami calls Emily “princess of Miami” 9 cbp officers including port director, give Emily royal treatment.
A press conference announcing her arrival will be held on Wednesday, March 30, according to CBS.
While her return to the U.S. may mark the end for her immediate struggles, the US will need to examine what policies and procedures led to the de facto deportation of a 4-year-old citizen, and change those policies to better protect the civil rights of children and parents in such situations.
To call for changes that will help prevent this from happening again, read and sign this petition: