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Teenager facing deportation after fatal car accident

The story of a teenaged woman who was recently convicted for her role in a fatal car accident and is now in federal detention for alleged violations of immigration law has attracted national attention. Residents of Chicago, Illinois, may have read about how the woman is facing deportation even though she immigrated to the United States from Mexico when she was four.

A jury recently found the woman guilty of a felony for failing to stop after the fatal accident that killed two children. The judge then sentenced the woman to probation and community service. While prosecutors agreed that the woman had killed the children accidently, prosecutors still filed the charges because the woman did not identify herself when her involvement in the accident became clear.

The woman's side of the story is that she was driving and drove through a leaf pile that was in the middle of the street. Tragically, she did not see two young stepsisters who had apparently buried themselves in the leaves as they were playing together. Both children died shortly after the accident.

While officials concede that the teen probably did not know she had hit the children as she passed through the pile, the teen's younger brother later check out the scene of the accident and discovered the tragic result. Although the woman's brother told her that she may have struck the kids, the teen remained silent until authorities tracked her down the following day.

In part because the woman was brought to the United States so long ago, she has permission to work in the United States and permission to reside in this country. Her permission to stay here, however, is now in jeopardy because of her felony conviction. She remains in immigration detention while a judge determines whether or not to give her a bond.

These sorts of situations can be scary for any immigrant, particularly since this is a case that appears to have been by all accounts an accident. This woman will likely need to rely on experienced immigration defense counsel in order to protect her right to stay in the country.

Source: ABC News, "Immigration detention for teen in leaf-pile deaths," Gosia Wozniacka, Feb. 4, 2014.

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Godoy Olivieri, Ltd.-An immigration law firm

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