By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

June 12, 2013

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

June 12, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO -(UPDATED) It was only this morning when Karla Gaerlan, a 28-year old from Stockton, California, held a press conference in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in San Francisco and made this desperate plea for mercy to President Barack Obama: “Mr. President, I know you are a parent too. I know you’re looking forward to spend Father’s Day with your wife and daughters. As a parent, i ask you to let me and other immigrants spend Father’s Day with their families. Don’t put me on that plane.”

That plea, along with hundreds of emails and phone calls from community supporters, led to ICE officials cancelling her deportation order at the end of the day. Karla was originally scheduled for deportation this Sunday.

Karla is wife to Thad Schmierer, a member of the U.S. Army and mother to nine-month old Christopher.

Karla moved to the U.S. from Cavite, Philippines in 2009 on a tourist visa. She has since overstayed that visa. But she is now married to a U.S. citizen, who could file a petition for her immigrant visa.

Since Christopher was born, Karla said she has struggled with post-partum depression. In this context, she said she and Thad had an argument. Thad ended up with a light scratch on his arm.

“I had a scratch. A scratch can heal in four days. How is that an arrestable offense? It wasn’t a stab or gunshot wound,” Thad argued.

But a concerned relative called police and Karla was arrested. This was when the controversial Secure Communities deportation program or S-Comm came into play.

“Karla is not convicted of any crime, yet she was still turned over to ICE for deportation proceedings. Once, she was turned over to ICE, ICE officers got her to sign to waive her rights and agree to self-deport by threatening her, yelling at her and providing her false information,” Anoop Prasad, an attorney with the Asian Law Caucus said.

“They told me that if I sign, I will be back (in the U.S.) in a few months. They said if I asked to see a judge, that I would be deported anyway and be banned from returning,” Karla lamented.

Since it was created in 2008, S-Comm has deported close to 100,000 immigrants in California, seven in ten of whom had no convictions.

A pending bill in California, called the TRUST Act, would limit the costly immigration holds on people with no serious or violent felonies.

If Karla’s deportation pushed through on Sunday, she would have faced a ten-year ban to returning to the U.S.

The Asian Law Caucus, which supported Karla in her fight to stay issued this statement: “In behalf of Karla, we thank the extraordinary outpouring of community support, which allowed her to remain with her husband and son. At the same time, we are painfully aware that over 1,000 aspiring citizens will be deported today, which is why we must continue to fight for just and inclusive immigration reform and the passage of the TRUST Act.”

You may contact Henni Espinosa at for more information.

3 Comments on this post.

Leave a Reply



  • kikayPang0
    12 June 2013 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Enough with the drama and lies, cheaters don’t deserve pardon.

    • Delia
      14 June 2013 at 5:20 am - Reply

      That’s just the type of BS gibberish things they play .

  • O
    17 June 2013 at 1:46 am - Reply

    Go Home. Your child at the right age will petition you. Your husband’s relative just hate you, to report you to ICE for deportation.