By: Rebecca Turco


BOSTON, Mass. (WLNE) – A Rhode Island woman at the center of an immigration battle is now at the center of a class action lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed by the Massachusetts ACLU, is calling on the federal government to stop separating spouses pursuing legal status from their families.

In January, Lilian Calderon was on the path to citizenship when ICE officers detained her at the immigration field office in Providence. She was held at a detention facility in Boston for about a month until the Massachusetts ACLU was able to grant her a temporary stay. That stay expires mid-May.

"It makes me feel sad that I as a human being am being treated like this," Calderon told reporters, following a press conference at the ACLU in Boston on Wednesday. "This is a great country and that's why we're trying to be here and to do things the right way."

"People should not have to fear they may end up in prison merely by playing by the government's own policies to address their immigration status,” said Steven Brown with the Rhode Island ACLU.

Calderon moved from Guatemala when she was three-years-old. She says she has no family there. She lives with her husband and two young children in Providence.

Five families in all are included in the class action lawsuit. Calderon’s family is the only one from Rhode Island.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts has no comment on the lawsuit.

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