4 kids at risk of being deported, separated from mother

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by Drew Karedes / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 11:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 5 at 11:18 PM

HOUSTON -- Community activists are calling for a response from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement over four kids at risk of deportation.

Kenia, Keilin, Maria and Enoch Portillo fear their days at home with their mother could be numbered.

The kids all traveled to the United States in recent years from their native country of Honduras.

Their mother says she left her kids behind to escape domestic violence at home. Kenia and Keilin, 16-year-old twins, were to the first to journey to the U.S. by themselves.

Their siblings, Maria, 17, and Enoch, 7, came to America shortly thereafter.

All of the kids were detained at the border, but later released to their mother pending future court dates.

“Please, I no go to Honduras. Help me,” cried 16-year-old Kenia Portillo.

The Texas Undocumented Youth Alliance says each of the Portillo kids went to their court dates without legal representation.

Community activists believe the children will be deported because their family cannot afford an attorney.

“How can you send a child back to the country with no one there to receive him or her,” said community activist Deyadira Trevino. “They should look at people as human beings rather than a number.”

According to family members, the Portillo kids suffered abuse and neglect back in Honduras and will be in danger if they are forced to return.

The community held a service for the children at Gulfgate Community Church on Wednesday night.

“It makes you want to cry and makes you think, how would you feel it this was your children being sent off,” said Hope Sanford.

The kids’ teachers and others in the community have signed a petition, begging ICE to allow the four children to stay where they are.

“I know to ICE, they’re just a number. I hope from seeing the petition and getting the phone calls, they will become a face to ICE,” said Terez Keith, who teaches ESL to Kenia and Keilin at Chavez High School.

Activists say the kids’ mother is allowed to remain in the United States because she is now married to a U.S. citizen.

KHOU contacted ICE to get more details, but a spokesman did not want to comment.

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