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Attorney says ICE granted reprieve to terminally ill woman facing deportation

Gloria Barrera with her immigration attorney Christopher Elmore at a press conference in Chicago on Aug. 3, 2018. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times

An attorney representing a terminally ill woman who was a victim of human trafficking said Tuesday his client will be allowed to stay in the United States for now.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has temporarily halted deportation proceedings against Gloria Barrera, a Melrose Park woman who has Stage IV ovarian cancer, according to Christopher Elmore, Barrera’s lawyer.

Instead, ICE placed Barrera, 54, under an order of supervision, effective Aug. 13. That means Barrera won’t have to check in with ICE until August 2019, Elmore said — though doctors estimate she has eight months left to live.

Elmore originally had sought an I-246 visa for his client; it would have allowed Barrera to stay in the United States for a year, based on her terminal condition. Elmore said while ICE denied that visa, the order of supervision is a better deal as it can be extended for more than one year.

While under supervision, Barrera will be required to stay within a three-state radius and update ICE of any change in address. ICE will continue to review her case over the next year.

Barrera was kidnapped by human traffickers after being deported to Mexico in 2013, and found out she had Stage IV ovarian cancer while in ICE custody after being smuggled across the border.

West Suburban Action Project lawyer Ambar Gonzalez is representing Barrera in a separate application for a T-Visa — a 4-year visa intended for survivors of human trafficking.

ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.