CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – A Chatham County high schooler is fighting for asylum after almost being deported back to El Salvador.
In 2014, 20-year-old said Yosselin Herrera she fled to Siler City, North Carolina from El Salvador to escape gang violence and sexual assault. Herrera joined her mother, who lives in North Carolina with her U.S. citizen husband and children.
A judge continued Herrera’s case at a Charlotte Immigration Court hearing Tuesday morning.
The continuance temporarily prevents Herrera from being deported and allows Herrera to continue her fight for asylum.
“I’m feeling happy,” said Herrera after the hearing. “I’m going to keep on fighting for my case.”
In June 2016, Herrera, who is an honor student at Jordan Matthews High School, was detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and sent to Erwin Detention Center in Atlanta. She was released in September 2016.
The Chatham County Commissioners and the Town Council of Siler City have recently passed resolutions in support of Herrera’s asylum petition.
“We’re delighted with the outcome today but it’s just another step,” said Chatham County Commissioner Diana Hales, who made the drive to Charlotte Tuesday morning for Herrera’s court hearing.
“We have young people who are contributing to our counties, cities and state and they’re being pulled by the roots because of policy that is in contradiction to what this country is all about.”
Following the court hearing, the North Carolina NAACP held a news conference with Herrera and her family. They stated Herrera is just one of many cases where the federal government is trying to deport young people who are only trying to escape danger in their home country.
“If you want true immigration reform, ripping children from their homes and from their families is not the way to do it,” said Ana Ilarraza-Blackburn with the North Carolina NAACP.
The next step for Herrera is an interview with an asylum office in Virginia. At that point, she’ll either be granted asylum or be given another hearing in immigration court.