SALT LAKE CITY — Members of Mormon Women for Ethical Government and other groups gathered at the Salt Lake City International Airport Thursday morning in a show of solidarity for a woman who has been deported to Colombia.
The woman, identified only as "Isabel," has lived in Utah for 20 years and is the sole supporter of her disabled son and 86-year-old mother, according to MWEG.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents originally planned to escort Isabel onto a Colombia-bound flight at 11 a.m. Thursday, but there was a discrepancy with her ticket name and passport name. Isabel was made to purchase another ticket for 11 p.m. Thursday, a statement released by MWEG Thursday afternoon said.
"When you want to get rid of what has been called the 'bad hombres,' target them. Use your resources, your time, your manpower to get them out. We understand that. But to then go for the low-hanging fruit, for a woman who doesn't have any criminal record, who is needed with her family, who just needs one bureaucratic move to give her that right to stay here, why not allow her to be here? Don't tear families apart," said Melissa Dalton Bradford, a MWEG representative.
Isabel's supporters and several children sang Mormon hymns and held signs to show their support for her Thursday. Her friends said she has successfully filed for extensions to live in the United States for the last two decades, but her most recent extension request was denied last month.
Isabel's supporters tried to work with Senator Orrin Hatch's office to appeal the deportation, but they learned Thursday morning there was nothing he could do.
Members of SL Indivisible, Action Utah! and other concerned citizens also participated in the protest Thursday.