Mother of Army lieutenant deported to Mexico after 31 years in US
Illegal Mexican immigrant Rocio Rebollar Gomez (center right), with her son - US Army 2nd Lt. Gibran Cruz (center left), walk to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in San Diego, California, on Jan. 2, 2020. US authorities deported the 50-year-old Rebollar - who had been in the US for 31 years - to Tijuana, Mexico, later in the day. EFE-EPA/ Manuel Ocaño
San Diego, California, Jan 2 (efe-epa).- Federal immigration authorities on Thursday deported to Mexico the mother of a US Army lieutenant who is a small businesswoman and has been in this country for 31 years.
Rocio Rebollar Gomez, 50, the mother of 30-year-old 2nd Lt. Gibran Cruz, an Army intelligence officer, was deported from San Diego to the Mexican border city of Tijuana by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities.
Both Cruz and his sister Karla McKissick at a press conference denounced the fact that ICE officials prevented them from saying goodbye to their mother at the US-Mexico border.
Rebollar had been scheduled to turn herself in on Thursday for deportation, but her daughter said that "she had faith" that US officials would give her an extension and "so she had not packed her bags."
Attorney Tessa Cabrera told EFE that the office of US Sen. Kamala Harris of California tried, but failed, to get special permission for Rebollar to extend her stay in this country.
Rebollar, who has three grandchildren and runs a small business, had to turn herself in to federal authorities, and ICE informed the attorney that any postponement of her deportation had to be requested in a separate building.
But "in the time it took us" to walk from one building to the other, agents took Rebollar in a vehicle to the border for "immediate deportation," Cabrera said.
Rebollar was expelled from the country at the El Chaparral pedestrian border bridge.
Once she was in Tijuana - about 27 miles south of where she had turned herself in shortly before - Rebollar confirmed to her daughter by telephone that she was in Mexico but didn't have any further idea where she was.
McKissick said tearfully that she took clothing and certain other items to her mother in Mexico, and Lt. Cruz said that, because of his rank and military duties, he was prohibited from crossing the border.
A court had ordered Rebollar's deportation for illegally being in the US after having been deported to Mexico twice in the 1980s and 1990s.
The deportation order originally was to have been carried out in December but Cabrera managed to get a 30-day postponement so that Rebollar could arrange certain matters before being sent back to Mexico.
ICE released a statement on Rebollar's case just prior to her deportation, saying: "On May 30, 2008, Rocio Rebollar-Gomez, 50, a citizen and national of Mexico, was ordered removed by an immigration judge in San Diego. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement subsequently executed the judicial order and removed her from U.S. to Mexico on June 20, 2009."
"Rebollar-Gomez later illegally reentered the U.S. at an unknown time/location, which is a felony act under federal law. On March 14, 2018, she was apprehended by the San Diego ICE Fugitive Operations Unit and processed for reinstatement of her removal order. Ms. Rebollar is currently pending departure to Mexico in accordance with federal law," the statement continued.
Rebollar has acknowledged entering the US illegally, but she has said she did so because she was desperate for her children to have a better life than would have been available to them in Mexico.