Mother Accused of Illegal Sale of Phone Cards Faces Deportation

Residents protest outside county jail

By Jackie Bensen and Mark Stephens
|  Thursday, Jun 30, 2011  |  Updated 2:45 PM EDT
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Mother Facing Deportation Over Non-Violent Crime

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Florinda Lorenzo-DeSimilian

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Mother Facing Deportation Over Non-Violent Crime

A mother arrested for a non-violent crime was referred to federal authorities for potential deportation.
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A mother of three arrested for a misdemeanor crime is at the center of a deportation fight with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"It was very difficult to be separated from my babies," said 26-year-old Florinda Lorenzo-DeSimilian. "I don't want any other families to be affected by that."

Lorenzo-DeSimilian was arrested at her home in Langley Park, Md., last Tuesday. She was accused of selling $2 phone cards without a license.

Her fingerprints were taken by the Prince George's County Department of Corrections when she was booked, and under the terms of a program that began last December, the county shared her fingerprints with U.S. Immigration, which screened her for immigration violations.

Lorenzo-DeSimilian was flagged for deportation by U.S. Immigration because she had overstayed her visa, community groups said.

On Monday night, members of the group CASA de Maryland staged a protest outside the Prince George's County jail. They worry cases like Lorenzo-DeSimilian's will become more common. They're also concerned about the controversial, newly enacted Arizona law, which requires police there to detain anyone they suspect to be in the state illegally.

"Local and state police agencies are here to keep communities safe and not to destroy them," said a CASA representative.

Lorenzo-DeSimilian's three children, who are 13 months old, 5 years old and 10 years old, are all U.S. citizens.

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