KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -- A Guatemalan woman living in Kansas City, Kansas doesn’t know when her deportation hearing will happen thanks to the government shutdown.
The woman that KCTV5 will call Carmen, fled her home country of Guatemala two years ago.
“I can’t go back,” said Carmen.
She wants a better life for her son here in the U.S. away from her abusive ex in Central America.
“He participates in drug trafficking,” Carmen explained.
She said she tried to escape him several times in Guatemala, but he always tracked her down to rape, beat and torture her again.
“Because he’ll move mountains for him to find what he wants,” Carmen said.
After climbing the border fence in Arizona with her son who was just months old at the time, she was granted credible fear to apply for asylum based on her experience.
She did it all for the sake of her little boy.
“Even though I was pregnant, he would still hit me,” said Carmen.
But last summer, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned an immigration case that made domestic violence victims like Carmen eligible for asylum.
In December, a district court judge halted that decision and made asylum officers at the border unable to consider it.
But in court, judges can deny asylum to women like Carmen based on the attorney general’s decision.
“All day every day we deal with women who are victims of really serious crimes and systematic persecution in Central America,” said Jonathan Willmoth, Immigration Attorney.
Willmoth said the matter will have to go through a series of appeals before it’s decided what will stick.
But the United Nations and the State Department agree women in Guatemala aren’t protected from abuse like they are in the United States.
“If I go back, he will take me as his property because, to him, I am his property,” expressed Carmen.
Carmen said that no matter what the judge eventually decides, she won’t go back there alive.
“She’s not kidding. She’s tried to kill herself four times,” explained Willmoth.
Carmen’s deportation hearing will likely come before the final decision on domestic violence and asylum.
While that is one reason why Carmen cannot return to her home country, there is also another: her son’s health condition.
While in border patrol custody for processing, her son became ill.
She said her bags with baby formula, bottles and diapers were taken from her.
“We had to give him toilet water because we didn’t have any kind of water or food to give him,” said Carmen.
She believes the cold inside the holding facility also made him sick.
“Every illness that my son has is from the conditions in immigration,” explained Carmen.
Since then, her baby boy has been in and out of Children’s Mercy Hospital with severe respiratory problems.
Carmen missed a court hearing for her immigration case while caring for her son who had just got out of intensive care. That’s when the deportation order came down.
She sought out an immigration attorney who got her another chance to make her case for asylum to a judge.
That court date was supposed to be this week.
“The judge was sent to another court and the shutdown happened and as far as I know, he’s furloughed,” Carmen said.
Willmoth doesn’t know when he and Carmen will have the chance to go in front of a judge.
Meanwhile, Carmen is taking her son back to the hospital.