EXCLUSIVE: 15-year-old Bay Area girl hopes for a miracle 24 hours before her dad is deported

Luz Pena Image
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: Teen hoping for miracle day before dad's deportation
Tuesday, a 15-year-old Bay Area girl is hoping for a miracle. Her dad is set to be deported tomorrow.

Tuesday, a 15-year-old Bay Area student is hoping for a miracle. Her dad is set to be deported tomorrow.

In his mid-20's, Hugo Aguilar, the now father of three, completed a two-year sentence for a drug conviction.

Luz Pena: "How has this experience changed you?"

Hulissa Aguilar "It definitely made me grow up faster."

She's 15-years-old, a freshman in high school but what's consuming Hulissa Aguilar's mind is how to help her dad.

"My dad is going to be deported tomorrow. Right where we are standing right now," said Hulissa Aguilar.

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The same house where last week she celebrated her first communion, in 24 hours could become the dreaded scene where ICE takes her dad.

For the last three years, Hulissa has been advocating for her family to stay together.

Her dad completed a two-year sentence for a drug convictions in his 20's and up to this day it follows him.

"We've been continuously on edge not knowing what was happening and continuously having to fight for more things for him and for our family," said Aguilar.

VIDEO: Bay Area teen pleads for father's life after ICE orders deportation

14-year-old Hulissa Aguilar stood outside of the San Francisco ICE headquarters less than a week before Immigration Customs Enforcement is likely to deport her father.

"It feels like it's a battle that I'm having to fight because of something that he did before I was even born. I'm going to have to continue to fight for it probably for the rest of my life just so I can have a dad," said Aguilar.

Luz Pena: "To me it's just so shocking to see you speak like this as a 15-year-old. Where do you get your strength?"

Hulissa Aguilar: "From my family for sure. I've seen them go through so many battles and I I'm just glad that I can speak on behalf of them."

Last week, the Aguilar family made a final appeal asking Governor Newsom to pardon Hugo and extend his stay in the US. They say that plea was denied.

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In a statement, Gov. Newsom's office did not give specifics about this case and added, "can assure that each application receives careful and individualized consideration."

"We need to embrace this idea that people can change and that people shouldn't be punished for something over and over again and permanently exiled. Unfortunately, we are seeing this every week," said Rev Deborah Lee, Executive Director of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.

Alameda County's Immigration Defense Attorney confirmed deportations are still happening under the Biden Administration.

"We have not seen a stop to deportation policies. This administration has created a different set of enforcement priorities that may have narrowed the field of who is considered an enforcement priority," said Raha Jorjani, Supervising Immigration Defense Attorney for Alameda County and added, "When your departure date is 24 hours from now, there is not really a lot that can be done."

As Hulissa prepares to say goodbye to her dad in the next 24 hours, she's hoping for a miracle.

Luz Pena: "What do you hope changes after this?"

Hulissa Aguilar: "I hope that there can be some kind of law that could allow my dad to come"

Here is the full statement from ICE:

Hugo Arnoldo Aguilar, 42, is a convicted aggravated felon and unlawfully present citizen of Mexico. He initially entered the U.S. in 1999 as a non-immigrant visitor, but failed to depart in accordance with the terms of his admission. Aguilar's criminal history spans over 15 years and includes a 2005 conviction for possession and transportation of a controlled substance for sale. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) San Francisco officers initially encountered Aguilar in 2005 and lodged an immigration detainer with Hayward, California, jail. Aguilar was taken into ICE custody following his release from Centinela State Prison in 2007, and subsequently issued a final order of removal. He was removed to Mexico January 2008.

He illegally reentered the U.S. at an unknown location and time. In 2017, ICE ERO San Francisco officers encounter Aguilar following his arrest on assault charges by Oakland Police Department, California, and lodged an immigration detainer with Santa Rita Jail, Alameda County. The detainer was not honored and he was released back into the community. ICE ERO San Francisco officers arrested Aguilar, Mar. 24, 2017, in San Francisco. On Aug. 30, 2018, he was released on bond, pending the outcome of his removal proceedings.


Aliens placed into removal proceedings receive their legal due process from federal immigration judges in the immigration courts, which are administered by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice and is separate from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and ICE. Immigration judges in these courts make decisions based on the merits of each individual case. ICE officers carry out the removal decisions made by the federal immigration judges. For more information on EOIR, visit: https://www.justice.gov/eoir/