NewsLocal News


Governor pardons Va. mom in effort to prevent deportation

Posted at 4:14 PM, May 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-24 16:15:47-04

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Wednesday he has pardoned  Lilian Cruz Mendez of a “minor driving offense.”

He said he issued the pardon in an effort to prevent Cruz Mendez, a mother of two, from facing federal deportation proceedings.

“While this pardon will not necessarily ensure that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agrees to return Ms. Mendez to her husband and two children, I hope it will send a clear message that tearing this family apart will not make our Commonwealth or our country safer,” the governor said.

Rene Bermudez (R) wipes away tears as he holds his 4-year-old daughter Danyca (L) during a protest on behalf of his wife Liliana Cruz Mendez, a Virginia immigrant and mother of two with no criminal record that was detained during a regularly scheduled check-in last week by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in front of ICE Headquarters in Washington, DC, May 23, 2017. (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Cruz Mendez, who came to the U.S. from El Salvador, was stopped in Williamsburg for having a broken taillight, the Washington Post reported.

She was convicted of the driving infraction in 2013.

She was detained May 18 during a routine check-in with ICE officials, the governor’s office noted.

“If President Trump and his administration are serious about making our nation safer, they will release Ms. Mendez, focus their immigration enforcement efforts on legitimate threats to our public safety and get behind the comprehensive immigration reform our nation needs,” the governor said.