When Shirley Stegall cast her vote for Donald Trump in November 2016, she never imagined that his immigration crackdown would affect her family. Now the Missouri woman's daughter-in-law has been shipped to Mexico.
The Associated Press tells the story. Letty, the Shirley's daughter-in-law, immigrated illegally to the United States in 1999, at age 21. After she married Shirley's son Steve, she obtained a Social Security card, a work permit, and a driver's license. The couple bought a house, became the owners of a Kansas City Bar called The Blue Line, and are the loving parents of a 17-year-old daughter, Jennifer, from Letty's previous marriage.
In 2012, Letty was pulled over and charged with misdemeanor drunk driving near her house. She spent a month in jail, and her case was transferred to immigration after the authorities discovered her illegal status. Under President Barack Obama's administration, Letty could stay in the country if she agreed to being fingerprinted, paid processing fees, regularly checked in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and, of course, had no other incidents. In February of this year, Letty was arrested in her driveway and placed on a plane to Brownsville, Texas, without her family's knowledge. She was then forced to cross the border back into her native Mexico.
While Letty hopes to return to her husband and daughter soon, Shirley has found herself questioning her support for Trump. Though the president claimed that he would use his tough immigration policies to get "the bad ones—the really bad ones," the number of immigrants arrested without criminal records rose by 150 percent from 2016 to 2017, NBC reports.
Shirley cast her vote believing that Trump would direct resources to deporting immigrants with criminal records. "They didn't take out the people who are dangerous," she said. "The murderers are still there. The gangsters are still there. The rapists are still there."
"I've always been proud to be an American," Shirley said. "But now I'm ashamed."
Jerry Rosetti, a patron in the Stegalls' bar, tells the AP that while he still supports Trump and thinks illegal immigration was wrong, he doesn't believe that Letty should have been deported.
"I would trade places with her in a minute," he said. "She shouldn't be in Mexico. She should be right here, right now."
Letty has been barred from returning to the United States for the next 10 years, but she and her family hope that her marriage to Steve will be enough to allow her to return within the next two. Letty did not apply for a green card after her marriage, because an attorney assured her that she had little to worry about since her husband and daughter were citizens. But now that Trump has signed an executive order that put all illegal immigrants under the threat of arrest, marriage to a U.S. citizen is no longer the simple path to citizenship as it once was.