Tara Ammons Cohen doesn’t feel like a celebrity.
She didn’t look like one Monday, dressed in the bright yellow pants and formless shirt of a woman detainee sitting inside a small white-washed interview room at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
Her only “jewelry” was the plastic identification bracelet she has worn on her left wrist for more than 17 months.
Her story – of adoption as a 5-month-old in Mexico by American parents and how 38 years later she now faces deportation to the country where she has never lived – has gone viral on the Internet.
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Google her name and nearly two dozen pages of stories and comments, in English and Spanish, pop up.
“I guess it’s nationwide,” she marveled.
Two television stations, including the Hispanic national news network Univision, waited to interview her Monday.
Her story has prompted comments, both pro and con, about her battle. But if celebrity somehow helps her get home to her family in Omak, she’ll take it, whatever way it comes.
Immigration Judge Tammy Fitting in Tacoma twice has ordered Cohen deported, most recently Dec. 7. But Cohen intends to ask her to reconsider and, if she fails to win her freedom, to appeal the decision, even though that will keep her in detention until a ruling comes down.
Going into her most recent hearing, Cohen and her attorney, Manuel Rios, had hoped for a sympathetic decision, one that might even let her go home for the holidays.
Fitting had ruled that the drug charge that prompted Cohen’s deportation case was not a “serious” crime. She pleaded guilty to stealing a purse containing two bottles of prescription pills and to a trafficking charge, though she never sold a pill.
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