Teen faces possible deportation after losing family in car crash

After 15-year-old Lidiane Carmo lost most of her family in a car accident in Florida, authorities decided she wouldn’t be deported, despite her illegal status.

Carmo, originally from Brazil, was returning from Orlando where she attended a conference with her church delegation.  She was traveling with five relatives, four of which died in the accident.  

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Church members were worried she would face deportation since Carmo--who moved here when she was 2 years old--and the rest of her family had been living in the United States on expired visas.  Reverend Aron Amazonas of her church says she speaks almost no Portuguese and has been around American culture her whole life.

Well, apparently she and her extended family don’t need to worry.  Federal agencies have no interest in the teen’s immigration status and, according to the Carmo family, Florida Gov. Rick Scott even assured Carmo that Florida would take care of her medical expenses since she has no health insurance (which is a whole other issue, if you ask me).

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Carmo didn’t learn about her parents and sister’s deaths until Tuesday,  after being treated in the hospital  for several days.  

Legal status or not, I can’t help but feel for this girl. I can’t imagine what losing my entire immediate family all at once would feel like …and she’s only 15! I tend to disagree with basically all of our government’s policies on immigration but I have to say, I was relieved with this decision. Being uprooted to another country shortly after the death of her closest relatives would be distastrous for anyone, especially a teenager.  Even if it is where she is originally from!

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Besides, I completely understand what it feels like to identify with one culture more than another, even if you love both. I was born in the US but am originally 100% El Salvadorian and have grown up in a Spanish-speaking household with arroz y frijoles and tortillas as a weekly--if not daily--part of my diet. I love Spanish music and food, can dance salsa with the best of them and believe soccer is the most important sport in the world; yet, the few times I visited El Salvador, I felt like I was wearing a neon sign that said “gringa.”  That's not to say I didn't enjoy visiting, but it didn't feel like home. I’m glad that after all she’s been through, Lidiane doesn’t have to share that fate.  

Do you feel more at home in the United States even though you identify with your Latina background?

Image via wptv.com