CHARLOTTE (AP) — A hearing was delayed Tuesday for a high school student fighting deportation to her native El Salvador and seeking asylum in the U.S.
The Charlotte Observer reports (http://bit.ly/2jS2pvA) an attorney for Yosselin Herrera said her deportation case was postponed until Nov. 1. The preliminary hearing was held in U.S. Immigration Court in Charlotte.
Attorney Evelyn Smallwood says the delay allows Herrera time to pursue a parallel asylum application at a federal administrative hearing in Virginia. Smallwood says there is no date set for the asylum hearing, but if Herrera is granted asylum, the deportation case will become moot.
If the asylum hearing is not held by the time of the next deportation hearing, Smallwood said she would seek another continuance of that case.
Herrera says she is trying to avoid a forcible return to a country where she says she was raped by gang members and could face death.
“I want to be able to follow my dream, and be with my family,” she said. “I have to wake up every morning scared that I’m going to be deported some day.”
The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP is backing Herrera’s bid to remain in the U.S.
“Supporting our Latino and immigrant brothers and sisters, the targets of a race-based extremist agenda and rhetoric, is of utmost important to all people of goodwill,” the Rev. William Barber, chapter president, said in a statement.
Ana Blackburn, the state NAACP’s Latino liaison, said ripping children away from their families is no way to handle immigration reform, calling it “uncivilized.”
“Diversity is what makes America great again,” Blackburn said, referring to President Donald Trump’s campaign theme. “Standing up for justice, that’s what makes America great again.”
Eddie Marshall, Herrera’s stepfather, remains optimistic about her chances to stay in the U.S. She is in 11th grade in a Chatham County high school, with hopes of becoming a forensic scientist.
“It’s hard to think about the things she went through” in El Salvador, Marshall said. “I promised her when she got here I wouldn’t let anything happen to her. That’s my daughter.”