Florinda Lorenzo-Desimilian Florinda Lorenzo-Desimilian
Hyattsville, MD On the evening of April 20, 2010 Florinda Lorenzo-Desimilian was at home with her three small children and her elderly father when she heard a knock on the kitchen window of her first floor apartment in Hyattsville, MD. She opened the small window and was asked by a Prince George’s undercover officer if she sold phone cards. As a stay-at-home mother, Florinda had begun to sell phone cards to earn some money. Within minutes of her selling the phone card to the undercover police officer, someone knocked on her kitchen window again. This time it was five uniformed officers demanding that she open her door.
Frightened, Florinda’s ten year old daughter opened the door and ran into the apartment buildings’ hallway. Without a word, or a search warrant the police rushed inside and ordered Florinda and her family to sit on the couch and not move. The police ripped through her apartment emptying her belongings on the floor. For more than fifteen minutes their search continued. Ultimately they handcuffed Florinda and placed her in a police car. Never during her arrest was Florinda asked about the welfare of her elderly father and her three small children. The youngest one, her thirteen month old son, still breast feeding. Upon arrival at the Hyattsville police station, she was told, “Since you don’t speak English, I am sending you to jail.” Florinda was charged with operating a business without a proper license and housed in Prince George’s County Correctional Center in Upper Marlboro for three days until the charges against her were dropped. The same day she was released, ICE issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) before a federal immigration judge. Florinda and her children are now destined to be deported August 4, 2012. Florinda’s deportation could be devastating in more than one way. She suffers from a severe case of asthma for which she requires $600 worth of medicines and sprays. Fortunately, a doctor donates her medication to her every other month allowing her to control her outbreaks. Her youngest son Rafael has started to exhibit the same symptoms. Living in Guatemala with insufficient medical facilities and access would cause great risks to their lives.
“I hope that no other mother will have to live through what I went through.” Florinda Lorenzo-Desimilian