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Salvadoran Mother Still Fears Deportation, Separation From Children

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Roxana Santos, a mother of four, fears she'll be deported to El Salvador when she meets with immigration officials next week, and activists say they believe she is being retaliated against after winning a federal lawsuit.

Her ordeal began in 2008 when she was detained in Frederick County.

The undocumented immigrant said she was profiled by sheriff's deputies and arrested while eating a sandwich during her lunch break.

After a court battle, she won the legal fight. Appeals court judges ruled Santos' constitutional rights were violated.

Then, in January 2019, during a routine check-in with federal law enforcement in Baltimore, Santos was detained again.

After another legal fight, a judge ordered her release for now, but on February 26th, she will meet again with ICE.

Advocates, including organizers with CASA plan to hold a rally outside the Baltimore field office.

In her first interview following her most recent detention, Santos told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren she feared being separated from her children.

Through a translator, she said she was also scared of her abusive father in El Salvador if she were forced to return there.

She wept when speaking about her uncertain future.

"She's not the same woman she was before this," said CASA's lead organizer Ana Martinez.

The Trump Administration has been aggressive about immigration enforcement, calling it a national security threat and deporting thousands of people.

Santos' case also highlights disparities in how different places in Maryland enforce immigration law, from Frederick County, where Santos' issues began, to Baltimore City, widely considered a "sanctuary" where officials have welcomed undocumented immigrants.

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