It will be up to you to decide who Juana Reyes is: hardworking entrepreneur and mother, or undocumented immigrant who finally got caught.
"The arresting officer was telling my kids, 'we're going to send your mom back to Mexico. You're never going to see her again,'" Reyes, who lives in Sacramento, said through her attorney, who translated from Spanish.
For years, Reyes sold tamales at two bucks a bag. Some of her best business was in the parking lot of the Walmart on Florin Road.
"That money's important to us because we need the money to pay the bills, rent, feed us," said Ceasar Cuesta, Reyes' 10-year-old son.
The day she was arrested, Juana was reportedly told to get out of the Walmart parking lot by security. She left but came back. That's when she was put in cuffs.
Before then Reyes had never been charged with a crime. And even the charges for selling the tamales were dropped.
But Reyes is an undocumented immigrant. She crossed the border surreptitiously twenty years ago. So, Her U.S. born children were taken into state custody for about two weeks, while she was detained on what's call an "immigration hold."
She's out of custody now on a bond, but still faces deportation.
It has the makings of a sad story, to be sure. But a story that starts with an illegal act. So we asked Reyes' attorney Julia Vera why people should support her.
"That's why there's prosecutorial discretion," Vera said.
Reyes, her atorney and her supporters say it's a misuse of resources to target Juana for deportation. And they say it creates mistrust in her community.
The case comes as California's State Legislature is debating the "Trust Act," which would prevent local law enforcement agencies from extended detention of suspects for immigration purposes, unless those suspects have serious violent felony conviction.
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