Tacoma - Her husband brought their two kids to see her last week.
She doesn't get to see them often since being locked up in the Northwest Detention Center on July 8, 2009.
If a federal immigration judge has her way, the visits will be even more infrequent.
Judge Tammy Fitting has ordered her deported to Mexico, the place of her birth where her parents adopted her from an orphanage when she was 5 months old.
Tara Ammons Cohen, 36, has never returned there, nor does she speak the language.
Her crime was to have been arrested for stealing a purse with two bottles of prescription pills in it. Authorities charged her with theft and drug trafficking. Though she never sold any of the pills, she served three months of a year and one day sentence. When she was paroled, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took her into custody and she has been incarcerated here ever since, awaiting deportation.
Her parents never had her naturalized. Since she never applied for naturalization as an American citizen, it's too late to become a citizen now.
The judge's finding is that she will be in no danger of persecution because Mexican law extends rights to women who have been harassed or endured sexual attacks. Health care won't be an issue, the judge ruled, because health care is part of Mexican citizenship, a natural right.
The Mexican government paid her attorney, Manuel Rios of Seattle. Both he and Mrs. Cohen are “stunned,” he said, because her mental illness will automatically make her an object of persecution in Mexican society.
“Six out of 10 migrant women and girls experience sexual violence in Mexico and all such women face this serious risk of trafficking,” Mr. Rios argued in his legal appeal brief. The judge had originally ordered Mrs. Cohen deported in 2009.
“Not every act of discrimination or harassment rises to the level of persecution,” the judge held. In an earlier hearing held in October, she agreed the drug charges did not appear to have been particularly serious.