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Thu Dec 3, 2020, 08:36 AM

A girl came to the U.S. border with reports of sexual abuse. ICE expelled her, citing COVID-19


DECEMBER 3, 2020 / 6:02 AM / CBS NEWS

When 15-year-old Marjory fled Guatemala, she did not tell her father in Pennsylvania that she was heading to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Genry said he would have warned her not to take the perilous trek, which spans thousands of miles of inhospitable terrain and often features threats of kidnappings, extortion and violence, as well as unscrupulous smugglers.

Marjory, however, was desperate to leave Guatemala and reunite with her father in the U.S. She had been living with her mother and stepfather, who she said had tried to sexually abuse her several times. She brought with her a complaint signed by a "jueza de paz," a local judge, describing her stepfather's alleged abuse. She hoped it would be her gateway to refuge in the U.S. But after Marjory was taken into custody by U.S. border agents on November 11, she was not allowed to present this evidence to an immigration judge, an asylum officer or a lawyer. The teen was instead briefly detained, placed on a deportation flight and sent back to Guatemala.

If allowed to stay in the U.S., Marjory may have qualified for a humanitarian visa for immigrant youth who suffered abuse, neglect or abandonment, according to lawyers. Had she been transferred to a U.S. government shelter for migrant children, as required by a 2008 law, her father would have been able to sponsor her so that she could live with him in Pennsylvania's Cumberland County while her immigration case was reviewed.


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