Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Wednesday he has pardoned Lilian Cruz Mendez of a “minor driving offense.”
He said he issued the pardon in an effort to prevent Cruz Mendez, a mother of two, from facing federal deportation proceedings.
“While this pardon will not necessarily ensure that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agrees to return Ms. Mendez to her husband and two children, I hope it will send a clear message that tearing this family apart will not make our Commonwealth or our country safer,” the governor said.
Cruz Mendez, who came to the U.S. from El Salvador, was stopped in Williamsburg for having a broken taillight, the Washington Post reported.
She was convicted of the driving infraction in 2013.
She was detained May 18 during a routine check-in with ICE officials, the governor’s office noted.
“If President Trump and his administration are serious about making our nation safer, they will release Ms. Mendez, focus their immigration enforcement efforts on legitimate threats to our public safety and get behind the comprehensive immigration reform our nation needs,” the governor said.