We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Some of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Paroled Mexican Woman Fights Deportation

by Laura Wides Saturday, Apr. 17, 2004 at 6:17 PM

Copied from AP, about Maria Suarez. Follow the link to support the victim of this brutality.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Maria Suarez was an immigrant from Mexico looking for work when she was kidnapped at 16 and held as a sex slave for five years.

After conspiring in the killing of her tormentor, she served 22 years in prison before being paroled last year. Now she faces another ordeal - the prospect of being torn from her family and sent back to a country she no longer knows.

Since January, Suarez has been held at an immigration detention center at the port of Los Angeles, awaiting an April 23 hearing under a federal law requiring those convicted of violent crimes to be deported after their release.

Suarez, a permanent U.S. resident whose ailing mother and eight siblings are U.S. citizens, is fighting to stay.


``I keep trying to understand what justice in this country means,'' she said. ``But I haven't seen it in my case.''

From the yard of the detention center, Suarez, now 43, catches glimpses of the life she missed.

``I can see the water. I can see the big boats. I see the hills,'' she told The Associated Press. ``I am so close, but I cannot be there.''

Supporters concede her case is difficult because of the strict immigration rules and the lack of laws protecting victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking at the time she was convicted.



Dorchen A. Leidholdt, co-executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women in New York, called the case ``heartbreaking.''



``This case would have been very different if it had happened today,'' Leidholdt said. ``The conviction happened at a time when the battered women's movement and the rape crisis movement were in their early form, and the trafficking issue was nonexistent.''

Suarez's nightmare began in 1976 when she came - legally - with her father to the small town of Sierra Madre in eastern Los Angeles County.

She spoke little English and had only a sixth-grade education but still dreamed of supporting her parents. Soon after, a woman offered her a cleaning job.

``It was like, 'You want a little candy little girl?''' Suarez recalled. ``I was very young and naive.''

The woman took her to meet her new boss in the nearby city of Azusa. Anselmo Covarrubias, 68, claimed to be a witch doctor and was feared by many in his Mexican neighborhood. Police now say he had a history of buying young Mexican girls.

That night, Suarez asked to be taken home but was persuaded to stay. Later, she was told Covarrubias had bought her for $200. When she begged to leave, she says he held the door open, then ripped off her clothes and locked her outside.

``I am naked. I cannot go nowhere. And he's just laughing,'' Suarez remembered.

Eventually, he let her in, then she says he raped her and threatened to kill her family if she told anyone she was being held against her will.

Over the years, Suarez was allowed brief visits with her family and sent to work in a factory. But she says the repeated abuse and threats kept her from fleeing or telling anyone what was happening.

Parole officials would later confirm Suarez's claim of being a battered woman who thought she would be killed if she didn't follow orders.

In 1981, Covarrubias was killed by a neighbor whose wife he had harassed. Suarez said she found the husband bludgeoning Covarrubias with table legs and agreed to wash and hide the weapons.

The husband was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. The wife served several years for acting as an accessory to the murder.

Suarez was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to 25 years to life - a decade before California law recognized ``battered woman syndrome,'' which can be used in defense of murder suspects.

Her lawyer at the time was fighting his own conviction for felony drug trafficking and was disbarred two years after her trial.

Suarez's current attorney, Jessica Dominguez, hopes the immigration judge will review the murder case. She also is pursuing a stay of deportation under a recently passed federal law that gives discretion to authorities regarding immigrant victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

Rep. Hilda Solis, a Democrat, has asked U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to halt the deportation proceedings.

Suarez's case is further complicated because it doesn't fall under the types of trafficking the federal government tends to focus on, such as prostitution rings or sweatshops, said Gail Pendleton, co-chairwoman of the National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women.

``From our experience, there's at least as many cases like this, where it's individuals who are basically being turned into forced labor. And usually there's sexual assault with rape.''

Immigration law specifies that those convicted of violent crimes be removed from the United States, said Bill Strassberger, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

In prison, Suarez studied English, computers and even plumbing. She worked with mentally ill inmates and wants to become a counselor for other abused women.

``I came to this country full of dreams. I unfortunately got on the wrong road, and all my dreams went down the drain,'' Suarez said. ``But I don't think it's late. I think at the long end there's hope.''
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
fresca here's what I say. Saturday, Apr. 17, 2004 at 6:44 PM
Here's what I say. Barney Thursday, Apr. 29, 2004 at 12:25 PM
superior Sen. Robert Byrd--D Thursday, Apr. 29, 2004 at 1:00 PM
^ KOBE HQ Thursday, Apr. 29, 2004 at 3:02 PM
The right thing to do how we live Sunday, May. 16, 2004 at 8:52 AM
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy