Mother's Day especially hard for deported mom, priest says

Maribel Trujillo Diaz sent to Mexico last month
Posted at 5:16 PM, May 16, 2017

FAIRFIELD, Ohio -- Sunday was especially hard for Maribel Trujillo Diaz, her priest said.

The mother of four, who came to the United States illegally in 2002, was deported back to Mexico last month.

The distance hurt most on Mother's Day: The holiday also is celebrated in Mexico.

"I'm sure it was a pretty painful day for her, and I know it was for her family," the Rev. Mike Pucke said. "They're able to talk with her, but they can't wrap their arms around her."


Trujillo said she'd fled to the U.S. because drug cartels targeted her family. Immigration officials first came into contact with her in 2007, when she was among dozens arrested during a federal raid of a Fairfield Koch Foods plant.

She'd had been facing deportation since her legal appeals were dismissed in 2014, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Khaalid Walls said. Federal immigration officials picked her up near her Fairfield home April 5.

Pucke was her pastor at St. Julie Billiart Church in Hamilton. He and other faith leaders rallied in a failed effort to halt her deportation. A three-judge panel at Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately denied Trujillo's petition for an emergency stay of removal.

Pucke said Tuesday she talks with her family several times daily, as well as her legal team. He also said he's heard she spends a lot of time in church and has been trying to find work.

"What's true is she's trying to put her life together as best she can, because her life was around her family," he said.

Trujillo still has an asylum case in front of U.S. officials, but it is a long way from being adjudicated.

A more immediate consideration is whether she will have her youngest child brought to Mexico to live, as originally planned.

"I think most pastors would counsel a family: Don't make critical decisions in the early stages of dealing with this crisis," Pucke said. "There was talk early on about, 'Well, should we make arrangements to get the youngest back with her mother?' and my suggestion is we just wait for a little bit and see how things work themselves out. That could be as early as this summer, who knows."