August 8, 2008

Carrollton woman faces deportation after applying for job

12:00 AM CDT on Friday, August 8, 2008

By ALEJANDRO MARTINEZ Al Día / The Dallas Morning News
Jason Roberson contributed to this story.

The case of a Carrollton woman who faces deportation has raised questions among activists, lawyers and her family, who question the collaboration between a private hospital and the city's police to arrest her.

According to a Denton County affidavit, 40-year-old María Martínez used a fake Social Security card to apply for a job in mid-July at a Luby's restaurant inside Trinity Medical Center at 4343 Josey Lane.

The document says that Ms. Martínez "had a 10:30 a.m. appointment" on July 23 with the hospital's human resources department, where she was arrested by Carrollton police.

Gabriela Martínez, Ms. Martínez's daughter, said the appointment was a ruse planned by the hospital and the police to arrest her mother.

Gabriela Martínez said the hospital had initially told her mother she wouldn't get the job because she had submitted fake government documents with her application. However, Gabriela Martínez added that the hospital called the next day and reoffered the position, reportedly saying the documents would no longer be necessary. She said detectives were waiting for her mother when she arrived.

"A hospital, from my point of view, needs to have morals, before anything else. It's the first time I hear that a hospital helps deport a person," she said.

Hospital spokeswoman Susan Watson said she couldn't discuss Ms. Martínez's job application without her consent, but she said the matter was a criminal case that had nothing to do with her immigration status.

"It had to do with an obligation to report a crime," she said. "Our legal counsel did not have a problem about how this was done, so I can only assume we did the right thing."

Ms. Martínez was being held at Denton County's detention facility with an immigration hold and is charged with tampering with government records. She could face two to 20 years in prison before being deported if she's found guilty.

Staff writer Jason Roberson contributed to this story.

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Should the Texas State Legislature pass immigration enforcement laws in 2009?