Freed only to face ICE
Convicted of murdering a child but later freed on appeals after almost 20yrs in prison, she was released only to face deportation by ICE
Rosa Jimenez didn’t sleep at all on Tuesday night. A judge had ruled earlier that day that the 38-year-old, who had been behind bars since 2003 for murdering a child, was likely innocent and deserved a new trial. The judge also allowed her attorneys to post bond. From a cell at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Jimenez thought she might finally be going home to Austin soon.
Though Jimenez had been granted new trials twice before, this time, she thought in her cell, it was really happening. This time she had the DA on her side, helping push her case forward. Jimenez, who suffers from stage-four kidney disease, could now finally get decent medical care—including a transplant. Being freed would save her life.
In the morning, a guard told Jimenez that she was actually being released that very hour—and to get ready. But it wasn’t her lawyers who pulled up to the prison to take her away. It was a van from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Jimenez wasn’t going home to Austin; she was being deported back to Mexico, a country she hadn’t seen since 1999.
Wednesday night, after one of the longest days of her life, Jimenez, staying in a home near downtown Austin, lay in bed staring at the ceiling. “I didn’t want to go to sleep,” she told me. “I didn’t want to go to sleep and wake up in prison again, find out all this was a dream.” Finally, around 3 a.m., she got up. The idea of going outside came to her. In prison, she could only leave her room at certain times. But now she opened the door and walked out onto the porch and into the night. She looked around at the other houses. She stared up at the full moon.
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