HOUSTON - Hundreds of immigrants have been deported under the Biden administration, including a witness to the El Paso 2019 Walmart shooting massacre in 2019.
The deportations come despite the administration's pledge to stop removing people illegally.
On August 3, 2019, Rosa was about to walk into an El Paso Walmart when she spotted a gunman run inside the store and begin shooting.
A total of 46 people were shot that day; 23 did not survive.
Rosa’s last name is not being revealed for her safety.
Rosa is an undocumented immigrant in her late 20s from Mexico. She agreed to work with law enforcement officials and testify in court against the shooter. But that wasn’t enough to protect her status.
Last Wednesday, she was pulled over in El Paso for a broken taillight. Police arrested her for having unpaid traffic tickets. But hours later, ICE authorities took over custody and deported her back to Juarez, Mexico.
"I was in the United States since I was little. I don’t know where I am right now. I'm kind of in shock, depression. I don’t want to get up every morning anymore. I don’t know where I am because all I know was my life back there. Like, that’s all I know. Now I’m like, I’m lost. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know why I’m still here. It’s kind of hard for me," Rosa said.
Rosa is just one of hundreds of undocumented immigrants that have been deported since the Biden administration took office at the end of January.
She’s now working with an attorney and non-profit Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services to get her papers filed and expedited, in time for the trial.
"We are advocating for her parole, her return to the United States by humanitarian parole to await the outcome of her U visa application, as well as to await the trial so that she can testify if necessary," said Anna Hey, Rosa's attorney.
Melissa M. Lopez, the Executive Director of Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, criticized the Biden administration for their actions.
"President Biden has made very clear his intentions of the way immigrants should be treated. They should be treated humanely and with dignity. In this situation, Rosa was not treated with dignity. She was told by the ICE officer that if they really need her to testify, they would bring her back to the United States, then just deport her once they were done with her. That’s not how you treat anybody, not to mention somebody who survived the mass shooting and came forward and try to help in an investigation."
"We prefer to be just quiet like we always were. I'm very glad that I did talk but some (part) of my heart knew that this would happen," Rosa said.
Hey worries that Rosa’s case will discourage victims of other crimes from coming forward, in fear that they too will face deportation.
So far, a trial date has not been set for the El Paso shooter.