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South Florida woman fights to reunite family after husband deported

Charles Rodriguez Arteta deported after going to supervision appointment

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A South Florida woman was forced to become a single mother after her husband was detained by authorities in March and then deported this week to Nicaragua.

"My husband went to Miramar for his supervision appointment, like how he does every year," Elizet Saenz said in Spanish. "He went and they arrested him."

Saenz's husband, Charles Rodriguez Arteta, had been granted a stay of removal and has been going to his supervision appointments at an immigration enforcement office in Miramar for years.

He has no criminal past and was given a valid work visa so he could work as a church preacher.

All that changed Wednesday when he went to his usual order of supervision appointment.

"No one is safe now," immigration attorney Antonio Revilla said. "Anybody with an old order of removal, and even though they've been reporting to their orders of supervision over and over again, they are at risk of being removed under the new administration."

Revilla said not everyone who reports is being detained. However, he said he and other lawyers have seen a surge in detentions since the Trump administration issued stricter executive orders on immigration.

"This stems from one of these executive orders that basically there are no set priorities as to who's going to be removed and who is not," Revilla said. "In other words, it's all fair game now for anyone to be removed, whether they have crimes or no crimes."

Saenz now fears for her family's future.

"I'm very scared, because I have my son and I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow," she said.

Hours before her husband was deported, Saenz went to U.S. Rep Illeana Ros-Lehtinen's office to seek help.

The congresswoman's chief of staff, Maytee Sanz, listened to Saenz's case and told local 10 News that she's heard about the detentions.

"I've had five cases this week," Sanz said. "When they go to check in, they've been detained."

Sanz said the Republican congresswoman's office is looking into the issue on a case-by-case basis, and that Ros-Lehtinen promises to take up the cause in Washington.   

"We are an office that works for the community," Sanz said. "They can come here and tell us they are undocumented, and we will contact the appropriate agencies on their behalf and try to help their specific cases."

Ros-Lehtinen is currently co-sponsoring three bills related to immigration.


About the Author:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.