Durham County

Deportation fate of Riverside High grad asylum seeker remains murky

Wendy Noemi Miranda-Fernandez, a Durham resident originally from El Salvador.
Wendy Noemi Miranda-Fernandez, a Durham resident originally from El Salvador.

The status of Wendy Noemi Miranda-Fernandez, a Riverside High School graduate who was transferred from the Irwin County Detention Facility in Georgia to LaSalle Detention Center in Louisiana to be deported on Friday, May 5, remains murky.

Miranda-Fernandez is an undocumented native of El Salvador who crossed alone into the U.S. in 2008 when she was 14, and sought asylum, citing threats to her and her family, specifically her brother, from the Salvadoran-based street gang Mara Salvatrucha, known commonly as MS-13. Her asylum requests had been denied.

Bryan Cox, Southern Region Communications Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said Friday afternoon that Miranda-Fernandez “remains in ICE custody.”

Cox said Miranda-Fernandez was taken into ICE custody “on March 22 in accordance with an order of removal from a Federal Immigration Judge.”

The ICE online locator which matches detainees to the detention facilities in which they are housed, as of Friday evening listed Miranda-Fernandez as being located in Louisiana’s LaSalle facility.

But immigration attorney Nardine Mary Guirguis, who represents Miranda-Fernandez, said through an aide that the ICE locator may be inaccurate in its listing of Miranda-Fernandez's locale.

According to Guirguis’ aide, Guirguis she called the LaSalle facility Friday and was told that Miranda-Fernandez was back in Georgia in the Irwin facility. Officials at the Irwin facility then reportedly told her her client was in Louisiana.

According to Guirguis — and Roberto Paulino, a U.S. citizen and fiancé of Miranda-Fernandez, Miranda-Fernandez's family received a call Friday afternoon from a friend who is being detained in the Irwin facility who told the family that Miranda-Fernandez was moved back to and as of Friday afternoon, was back in the Georgia facility.

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636, @CWarrenHicks

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