PORTLAND – A woman who struck and killed two young girls who were playing in a leaf pile last fall will not face deportation, at least not for now.
According to an attorney familiar with the case, Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros will be allowed to stay in the United States under a program meant to prevent deportation of certain undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement had been trying to deport Garcia-Cisneros, according to an ICE spokesman. She was convicted on charges of failing to perform the duties of a driver for the 2013 hit-and-run crash that killed the two Forest Grove girls.
Background: Forgiveness, no jail for Forest Grove driver
Brent Renison, an immigration lawyer and spokesman for the American Immigration Lawyers Association who is familiar with the case, said Garcia-Cisneros was granted protection from deportation under a federal program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
That program was ordered by President Barack Obama in 2012 after an immigration reform effort called the DREAM Act failed to get through Congress.
As part of that protection, an immigration judge was forced on Thursday to dismiss the pending deportation case against Garcia-Cisneros. She was then released from an immigration detention center in Tacoma, where she had been held since her conviction in January.
A Washington County corrections spokesman said Garcia-Cisneros reported to a probation officer in Oregon on Monday. She still faces probation until January 2017 in the hit-and-run case.
Renison said the DACA program offers temporary relief for Garcia-Cisneros, but if she loses that protected status then ICE could once again try to deport her. The program gives relief for two years, although it can be renewed.
ICE spokesman Andrew Munoz said he could not speculate if his agency would again initiate deportation proceedings if Garcia-Cisneros lost her protected status.
KGW has attempted to contact Garcia-Cisneros and her attorney directly but has not yet received a response.
KGW reporter Ashley Korslien contributed to this report.