Connecticut mother of sick child faces deportation

Miriam Martinez and her husband, Luis Raphael Benavides, never enjoy a full night’s sleep, as they check every few hours to make sure their 12-year-old daughter’s insulin pump is working correctly.

Diagnosed two years ago with Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, Martinez is the expert in the Stamford family in applying the insulin, which goes through a needle into a port attached to the middle school age child’s body.

Martinez is the contact with the school nurse and the medical personnel who monitor the case at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Her husband, the main breadwinner, travels to New York daily for his job in the food industry and cannot respond as quickly to questions or emergency situations about the child’s condition, which are not infrequent.

As of Monday, however, Martinez, who came to this country in 1992 at the age of 27 fleeing the political violence in her home country of Guatemala, is expected to get on a plane at 3 p.m. on orders from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, leaving behind her family.

She and her husband also have a 10-year-old daughter; both girls are American citizens.

“I’m nervous. Who will take care of my daughter?” Martinez asked in an interview on Saturday in her attorney’s office. “I have never left them alone.”

“I don’t know what I can do,” she said as she started to cry.

Attorney Glenn Formica, who only got the case last week, will go to ICE headquarters Monday to make a plea with the agency to hold off on the deportation so he can have more time to research the case. He is taking the case pro bono.

He hopes a strong emotional appeal will have some impact on the “no and never” response of ICE to recent requests for a stay of deportation.

In a letter he will present to ICE, Formica will make a pitch on the medical needs of the chid and her fragile state.

Martinez had a stay of deportation in 2016, but when she reported to ICE in August of this year to get a renewal, the stay was denied, despite there being no material change of circumstances, Formica said.

The couple’s fear is that there will not be the level of care her daughter needs if she was to join her in Guatemala. Benavides said they want to continue to use Yale-New Haven Hospital so she gets the right kind of care.

He said the shots are painful and his daughter wants Martinez to apply them, as she is more expert at it.

“Mom has the gentle touch,” Benavides said. At one time, she had a seizure, while in another her vision became blurry.

Her food intake has to be carefully monitored and there are frequent consultations with school staff as the child proceeds to classes and sports activities throughout the day.

When she was diagnosed two years ago, Benavides said it took weeks to regulate her insulin following a hospital stay. Her parents took her for a checkup after she kept losing weight and was drinking water excessively.

Advocates for immigrants have been meeting on the case since they were alerted to it late last week and are expected to show their support.

“The United States is a country of heroes and good guys. We are kind, compassionate, and we are not cruel. The decisions of our government should reflect who we are. As an overworked hack of a lawyer, I had many sleepless nights. I cannot even being to imagine how I would ever be able to sleep if that was my 12-year-old daughter,” Formica said.

An email seeking comment was sent to ICE.