Demonstration Urging Obama Administration to Stop Deportation of Elderly Mom

When & Where
San Francisco (new) Federal Building
90 7th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
December 22, 2016 - 11:00am - 1:00pm

Deportation of activist's elderly, ill mother spurs protest amid heartbreak

Community groups demand President Obama grant relief as Trump administration looms

What: Demonstration urging Obama administration to grant humanitarian relief to Betty Flores Hijuelos, an 81-year old grandmother and the mother of noted immigrant rights activist Renee Saucedo. Flores Hijuelos suffers from dementia and diabetes, which makes it dangerous for her to be separated from her daughter.  She has no criminal record.

ICE agents at San Francisco International Airport whisked Flores Hijuelos, a visa-holder, back to Mexico on November 27 on a midnight plane as she was returning from a trip with family members to sell her home to pay medical bills. The deportation, which devastated her family, is but the latest example of an unjust immigration system that tramples on basic dignity and human rights.

When: Thurs, Dec 22, 11 a.m.

Where: SF (new) Federal Building, 90 - 7th St

Who: The deported elder's family will be joined by a coalition of labor, community and religious organizations

Background: Heartbroken by the deportation of Betty Flores Hijuelos, immigrant rights activists will protest the inhumanity of immigration policies that have led to the deportation of more than 2.8 million people over the course of the Obama administration, and the threats of President-elect Donald Trump to deport 3 million to a 11 million more. With the deportation machine created by President Obama soon to be in Trump's hands, cases like Ms. Flores highlight the need for President Obama to take action before he leaves office.

Flores is the mother of long-time immigrant rights activist Renee Saucedo, who ran to represent the Mission and Bernal Heights on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2004. Saucedo was born in the United States.

"The Department of Homeland Security used their discretion to deport my mom rather than allow her re-entry," stated Renee Saucedo.  "I blame Donald Trump's statements around deporting everyone, and I also blame our broken immigration system that does not respect human rights or a sense of decency or morality."

Up until November 27, Flores had been living with Saucedo, who currently resides in Eureka, her husband and seven-year-old son, who is Flores’ grandson. Saucedo took care of her meals, hygiene and administering medications. Frail, she had recently fallen and broke her shoulder.

In 2014, Flores received an R Visa, a combination business and tourist visa issued by the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City since 2007, that had a 2024 expiration date. Unbeknownst to the family, the visa did not allow for exit from and re-entry into the United States and had other time limits.

Immigration and Customs officials at San Francisco Airport did not allow Saucedo’s in-laws, who were going to meet Flores at the airport, to speak to her, and refused requests from two attorneys to speak to her while she was detained. Flores was put on a plane near midnight and landed dazed and confused in Mexico City. 

Flores has no close family members to house and care for her in Mexico. She is presently living in the home she sold at the benevolence of the new owner, who has made it clear that she expects it to be only a temporary situation.

Saucedo has filed an Application for Humanitarian Parole, which would reunite her with her family. Supporters are calling on Bay Area Congressional Representatives to urge the Obama administration to expedite the application before he leaves office January 20.

"This case has to be one of the most egregious," stated Hillary Ronen, newly-elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.  "Our government should not rip families apart through deportations, especially when the person deported is a frail, old lady who needs her family to care for her," said Ronen, who will be speaking at the rally.