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Supporters rally around undocumented immigrant on trial for theft

Waco Immigrants Alliance.jpg
Posted at 7:25 PM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 20:39:48-05

On Tuesday morning, supporters for an undocumented immigrant expected to go on trial rallied for justice.

Estela Fajardo was indicted on a theft charge. She was accused of buying stolen jewelry and electronics worth between $2,500 and $30,000 in 2016.

The mother of four has been at the jail in Waco for three years with an immigration hold.

A jury was selected on Tuesday and the trial is expected to start Wednesday morning.

Fajardo's partner, Terry Stevener is hopeful about the outcome of the trial.

"There is a bit of relief because we have been waiting this long for this trial to come to fruition. There is still a little bit of apprehension. Basically our family's fate is in the hands of jurors," Stevener said.

Her immigration attorney Anali Looper with American Gateways said Fajardo who was in the process of becoming a permanent resident when she separated from her spouse years ago was deported back in 1998.

She plans to request the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to rescind the reinstatement of removal order.

Looper said the order, which can be used more than once for deportation, prevents Fajardo from seeing an immigration judge to plea her case.

Looper said if the judge agrees Fajardo was a victim of battery or extreme cruelty by her U.S. citizen spouse and has been a person of good moral character, she will be able to become a permanent resident.

The Waco Immigrants Alliance Executive Director Hope Mustakim said she deserves to remain in the U.S.

"She's made a life here. More than 30 years she has been here. Four U.S. citizen children, several businesses. She has employed dozens of people and just a generous giver. Member of two churches and she is always willing to give and help out," Mustakim said.

Fajardo also filed a sexual assault lawsuit against a female guard at the Jack Harwell Detention Center last year.

The McLennan County Sheriff's Office conducted two investigations into the sexual assault allegations and concluded the guard conducted a standard pat-down search.

The trial starts on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.