J.C. Cross Country Star Ayded Reyes Facing Deportation
Ayded Reyes is a 20-year-old student-athlete at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, CA. In October, Reyes was with her boyfriend in his car, parked at a port park after closing time, when a San Diego Harbor Police officer approached. Though they were not doing anything illegal, Reyes and her boyfriend were asked for their IDs. Unfortunately, Reyes could produce nothing more than her Southwestern student ID. A subsequent background check led to the discovery of her illegal status. This led to a nightmarish five days of incarceration while Immigration and Customs Enforcement attempted to get her deported.
“I didn’t even know that I was born [in Mexico] until I was in middle school. To me, well, I’ve always been a proud American,” says Reyes.
Thanks to the efforts of her coach, Duro Agbede, Reyes was rescued from deportation when Congressman Bob Filner intervened on her behalf. Hours later Reyes put on her running shoes and won the Pacific Coast Conference championship. On November 19th, Reyes finished an impressive fifth at the California State championships despite a fall and being run over.
Born in Mexico, Reyes’ undocumented parents brought her to the U.S. when she was two. Her American life led her to the track. As captain of her cross country team, Reyes’ ability has garnered a lot of interest from four-year universities. She holds more than a dozen scholarship offers and has been recruited by an Ivy League school. But even with all this attention, Reyes can do nothing but cross her fingers until a March court hearing decides her fate. Pretty sure that’s all that matters to her at this point.
Says Congressman Filner, “This story cries out for humane treatment. [...] I don’t feel as if she broke any laws. She came here, not of her own volition. [...] She has done everything right, her entire life. She does not deserve this treatment.”
It is still unclear why Reyes legal status was checked. She was doing nothing illegal outside of being in a parking lot after hours. Does that warrant five days in jail? Or worse, being sent to a country that you have virtually no connection to?