ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – An Overland woman who has been in the country illegally for nearly two decades without any problems was suddenly taken into custody Tuesday and is facing deportation.
On most weekends, 48-year-old Ilsa Guzman-Farjardo would be worshipping at Strong Tower Church on Lusher Road but that likely won’t be the case this weekend after she was apprehended and could soon be forced to leave the country.
“It’s unfair and unjust to us, you know? It’s my mother, you know?” said John Briones, Guzman-Farjardo’s son.
Briones cannot believe his mother could soon be deported back to her native country of Honduras.
“She is not a criminal. She has not committed any crime in this country. She’s a hard-working woman, she loves her children,” said attorney Evita Tolu.
Guzman-Farjardo, a wife and mother of three, was taken into custody at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office downtown at the Robert A. Young Federal Building. Her friend was given a bag with Ilsa’s jewelry in it.
Guzman-Farjardo went to the office after receiving a call from authorities Monday evening to appear there Tuesday morning.
Her attorney was with her but they had no idea what was coming.
“When we presented ourselves, they took her into custody and refused to talk to me,” Tolu said.
Guzman-Farjardo has been in the United States illegally since 1999.
Tolu said Guzman-Farjardo voluntarily reported to authorities in 2014 after learning about a deportation order against her. She said Guzman-Farjardo has been checking in regularly ever since and wears an ankle bracelet.
According to Tolu, Guzman-Farjardo was told she would not be deported while her son John, who is a US citizen, was still a minor. However, she could face deportation after John turned 18, which happened last fall.
Tolu said Guzman-Farjardo had no chance to say goodbye to her family and friends.
“It’s unreasonable. It’s cruel. It’s inhumane,” she said.
Tolu said she has been in the process of getting Guzman-Farjardo a green card ever since she got married in May of last year so she could stay in the US legally.
Her loved ones say separating her from her family is wrong even if it’s legal.
“Granted, we have laws and I recognize that…does that make it right?” Tolu said.
Tolu said she’s asked government officials for a six-month extension so Guzman-Farjardo could complete the green card process. So far, that request has not been granted.
Guzman-Farjardo is scheduled to be deported next week.
Fox 2 News has reached out to ICE for a comment but has received no response.
(Ed. note: During our research for this story, we learned that Ilsa Guzman-Farjardo works at Fox 2 as part of a company that we contract with for cleaning services.)