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Controversy in Calif., as star cross country runner in danger of being deported

Dec 28, 2011, 4:49 PM EDT

AydedReyes

Twenty-year-old Junior College cross country runner Ayded Reyes is living the American dream — or would be, if San Diego authorities weren’t trying to deport her to Mexico. Reyes, a conference cross country champion and 3.50 GPA student, came to the U.S. with her parents at the age of 3, and has three siblings born here who are U.S. citizens. But she is technically an illegal alien, a fact she discovered when police asked for her ID one night recently in a San Diego park.

Now there’s a controversy over what happens next: Immigration and Customs Enforcement says she should be deported, and was within hours of doing so when San Diego-based Congressman Bob Filner stepped in and got her released. A number of people are trying to figure out a way for her to stay. Reyes has a hearing in March that will decide her fate. From NBC San Diego:

Last Thursday night, that reality caught up with her at a park in Logan Heights. It was around 10:30 p.m., when she says a San Diego Harbor police officer came up to the window of her boyfriend’s parked car and asked the two for identification.

“I showed him my Southwestern I.D. and all the I.D.’s that I could possibly find,” said Reyes. But she said the officer persisted.

“So he asked me if I had a Social Security card I said no I don’t and he said then how do I know this is you? Then the next thing I know I see the Border Patrol van…so they took me away,” said Reyes.

Reyes was released by Border officials Monday. When her cross country coach heard what happened he stepped in and called Congressman Bob Filner.

“You can’t assume someone is illegal. I don’t have any I.D. on me right now,” said Filner.

Filner is working on a private bill, one which grants citizenship based upon special circumstances.

Is it legal for police to grill someone on their immigration status during a routine check? I’ve been stopped a few times by the police (let’s not get into it), but have never been asked to give them my social security number. It’s hard to imagine an officer looking at me and saying, ‘OK, back to Ireland with you, pal.’ This only seems to happen to people with darker skin who live in southwestern states.

Reyes said that she was pressured to sign deportation papers, and that the ICE kept telling her she should go back to “your country.” ESPN:

Reyes desperately searched for an attorney to represent her, but had little luck at first. She’s a full-time student-athlete with very little money. Her parents, both undocumented workers who make minimum wage, help pay for her tuition.

Then Reyes found Jacob Sapochnick, a prominent immigration attorney in San Diego, who, after hearing her story, decided to take her case pro bono.

“Whoever stopped them from the Harbor Police went too far. There was no probable cause that there was any criminal activity,” Sapochnick said. “There were no drugs or alcohol; there was no reason for them to verify her ID or for them to call the federal government.”

Said Reyes on facing deportation: “If they make me go back, I will be lost.”

Reyes, who runs for Southwestern Junior College in Chula Vista, is the Pacific Coast Conference women’s cross country champion and has a 3.50 GPA. She’s being recruited by at least two colleges right now, and wants to be an obstetrician.

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‘If they make me go back, I will be lost’ [ESPN]

  1. l0yalr0yal - Dec 28, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    ‘OK, back to Ireland with you, pal.’

    w1nn1ng.

  2. mgflolox - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Yeah, this family is a real threat to our national security.

    • scott24105 - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM

      Is her family a threat in a way that they are going to set off nuclear bombs? No. But are they a threat to our society as to them and millions of others are living off our social systems, clogging up hospitals, getting free care so that hospitals have to close because of the unpaid bills, over crowding our schools, etc, absolutely. It says it right in the article, her parents who make minimum wage try and HELP pay her tuition. Who do you think pays the rest??? We do!

      If she wants to be angry at someone, look no further than her parents who have been here 15+ years and never tried to do things legally. I have no problem with people coming here to better themselves, as long as they do it legally and contribute to our systems instead of depleting them.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:59 PM

        Sounds like you’re scapegoating. As a former Californian, I tend to blame Prop 13 and the recall of Gray Davis for the state being financially strapped.

  3. michiganhockey11 - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    I’m not a lwayer, but from what I have heard, it is very illegal for police officers to ask you to produce a social security card when asking for ID. A school ID should have been sufficient, though it probably doesn’t show her age (maybe that’s what the officer really was looking for).

    Of course a patrol car going through a park, seeing a parked car, the officer probably thought a little “Ein klein bang-bang musik” was going on in the car. I had a cop tapping on my window once and he just told me to take my girl home (which I promptly did). If we believe the girls story, then having a border patrol car along with the police officer seems a bit more like a setup.

    Or we could look at the congressman’s take that the officer assumed the couple in the car were illegal….hope that officer doesn’t pull him over any time soon.

    • goforthanddie - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:45 PM

      School ID is exactly that: a picture ID that only matters at school. It’s nothing legal.
      And why ask for a SS card? Mine doesn’t have a picture on it. It may be an “official/legal” document, but it proves nothing.

  4. goforthanddie - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    This story is all set up for a “Run For The Border” joke, but the situation is too stupid to joke about.

  5. koufaxmitzvah - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    This might be shocking to some people, but that part of California used to be a part of Mexico. To say it is illegal for this young lady to live on that land screams of ignorance. And ‘F this cop for fishing for a crime. Disgusting.

    • skids003 - Jan 10, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      With this stupid logic, don’t we all need to go back to wherever our ancestors came from? Mine actually immigrated here legally, does that mean I can stay?

  6. azvikefan - Jan 6, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    I know you all have heard it before, but what part of “In this country ILLEGALLY don’t you get?”
    BTW, I’m all for racial profiling too.