Nurse and family facing deportation stay in Oakland, at least one more day

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An Oakland nurse and her family did not hop on a plane back to Mexico on Tuesday and are looking into two more legal options to help them stay in the Bay Area.

Hours before the family was supposed to board a 1 p.m. flight at San Francisco International Airport, Maria and Eusebio Mendoza-Sanchez and their son decided to file a deportation stay at 12:01 p.m. Wednesday, one minute after their time officially runs out on U.S. soil, explained their lawyer, Carl Shusterman. They were told they were not allowed to file a stay before that.

"I just talked to Maria," Shusterman said. "She's happy. She says, 'Every day is good. I get one more day with my family.'"

It's unclear what will happen after one more day, Shusterman said, and so the Sanchez family also has a plane ticket for Wednesday, just in case that legal option doesn't work.

At the same time, U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein told Shusterman that she plans to sponsor a private bill on Sept. 5 to keep the family together and living in Oakland with green cards. In the past, ICE has honored these private bills, Shusterman said. But he and the family are not so hopeful under the new Trump administration, which sent a memo earlier this year, saying these private pleas would be left up to the immigration agency's discretion.

"I'm curious to see if that memo is going to change things," Shusterman said. "The agency has a lot of discretion...[a private bill] doesn't mean they don't have the discretion to deport her anyway."

The two came illegally, Shusterman said, but are “good people” who should be allowed to stay.

On Monday, there were more than 100 people rallying outside Highland Hospital, where Maria has worked in the oncology department for many years. Her husband has been a truck driver in the United States since 1989.

At the rally, Maria picked up a megaphone and said that immigrants "deserve a chance to be here. We are not doing anything. We are working. We are treating people with respect."

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf weighed in Tuesday on the Trump administration's effort to deport the family, saying in part: "Maria represents the best of Oakland. A dedicated registered nurse at Highland Hospital who has cared for our residents in their most vulnerable moments, as well as a loving wife and mother of four children. She and Eusebio epitomize the Oakland spirit; they are devoted members of our community, proud parents of highly accomplished students, and we honor and support their family as they face this life changing moment.

“As mayor of Oakland, I believe in keeping families together. I stand with Dianne Feinstein in calling on the federal government to reverse this impending deportation. The Trump administration’s arbitrary and cruel enforcement of immigration policies tears families apart."

The couple will possibly have to leave behind three daughters, who have legal standing in the U.S. Their youngest, a 12-year-old,  is poised to return to  Mexico with them.