BY TOM DALTON
---- — SALEM — A Salem woman who faced deportation for entering this country illegally has been granted a stay by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“After conducting a comprehensive review of Mariola Perez’s case, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has chosen to exercise prosecutorial discretion in this matter and has granted her a stay of removal,” the federal agency said in a statement.
The stay means Perez, 26, won’t be removed from the U.S. for one year. Supporters said she plans to seek asylum.
A rally was held Tuesday outside ICE’s office in Burlington to support Perez, a native of Guatemala who arrived in Salem three years ago and has been living with Salem State University Professor Avi Chomsky.
Perez is the mother of a 3-year-old son with asthma who was born in this country and is a U.S. citizen.
She was arrested Aug. 25 by Salem State police on a charge of driving without a license.
“ICE exercises discretion on a case-by-case basis, as necessary to focus resources on our stated priorities,” the agency stated. “Decisions are based on the merits of each case, the factual information provided to the agency and the totality of the circumstances.
“Over the last four years, ICE has focused on sensible, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators.”
Perez’s attorney praised the decision.
“We appreciate ICE’s rapid and professional response to Mariola’s request and are encouraged by this evidence of its continued commitment to the humane and effective enforcement of our immigration laws,” Attorney Matthew Cameron said in an email.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.