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Coral Springs Woman Arrested, Facing Deportation After Paying Traffic Ticket

A recent Florida State University graduate and political activist is being held at the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach and faces deportation to Colombia.

Andrea Huerfano, who graduated from FSU in 2008 with an international studies degree and now lives in Coral Springs, moved to the United States with her family in 2001. Now it seems like she is caught in some sort of immigration limbo.

Her father, who handled the paperwork, was seeking political asylum. He passed away in 2005, however, and the family was left in an awkward situation. Andrea's mother, who also lives in Coral Springs, got remarried to an American citizen. This granted citizenship to both Andrea's mother and to her younger brother. But Andrea, who was over 18, was left in a gray area.

"She's basically another immigrant seeking status," says Caitlin Baggott, strategic director for the Bus Project, a Portland, Oregon-based group Andrea worked for after college. "She's a very nice, sweet girl. She was a good student. She's very focused on working for democracy. Now it might take an act of Congress to let her stay in the country."

Apparently Andrea ran a red light in October. When she appeared in court to pay a traffic ticket earlier this week, says a local friend, she was immediately detained, and the deporation process began.

Her family has hired immigration attorney Ivania Jimenez to represent Andrea. (I left a message for Jimenez last night.) Baggott says the political action group is trying to put together a coalition of congressional members who might be willing to support an act to keep Andrea in the country. The group has a few soft commitments and has retained the services of an attorney in New York to help recruit more members.

After FSU, Andrea received a fellowship from Politicorps, part of the Bus Project. After that, she worked on a get-out-the-vote campaign in Ohio before the 2008 election. While living in Coral Springs, Andrea has been applying for graduate schools and working with local immigration-reform groups. Instead of a profile picture on Facebook, Andrea has an image of the DreamAct 2009 political button.

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Michael J. Mooney

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