Tough choices face women separated from spouses by immigration law


RICHMOND, Va.

Whenever someone knocks on the door, Beatriz Marquez’s 2-year-old son gets excited.

“Daddy coming?” Anthony asks repeatedly in Spanish. “No, Daddy is working,” she tells him.

The
little boy has been waiting for his father to come home for more than
three months. The last time he saw Victor Orellana, he was in handcuffs
on his way to jail.

Orellana, 28, who was in the U.S.
illegally, was deported to El Salvador in October, a month and a half
after he was detained at his home in Henrico County by U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement agents.

During the most recent fiscal
year, 186,641 immigrants who were in the U.S. illegally were deported.
Of those, 1,576 lived in Virginia and the nation’s capital.

Marquez and her children are living the consequences of her husband’s deportation, and she is not alone.

A
Times-Dispatch reporter spoke with a handful of women in the Richmond
area–some of them in the country legally, others not _ whose husbands
have been deported recently. Their lives, and the lives of their
children, were turned upside down in a heartbeat.

Suddenly,
the women found themselves frantically trying to save their husbands
from deportation. Some had to move out of their homes because they
couldn’t work to pay the rent while caring for their children.

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