by Greg Moses
Dallas immigration officials have lifted the Jan. 31 deadline for deportation of Olga Zanella to Mexico, allowing the 20-year-old woman another precious week of time to appeal for her rights to remain in America and continue her college education.
That’s the word from Dallas immigration advocate Ralph Isenberg who has been working on Zanella’s behalf. Isenberg said developments in the case unfolded when Zanella visited her immigration officer on Friday and was told that officials of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Dallas had lifted the Jan. 31 deportation order and extended the deadline until Feb. 4.
In granting the very rare extension Dallas officials seemed to be taking seriously Isenberg’s urgent submission last week of new evidence regarding Zanella’s ability to cope with abrupt removal to Mexico after living for the past 14 years in America.
Isenberg was notified about Zanella’s pending deportation by immigration activists in Seattle who had become familiar with Isenberg’s work as he fought last year to secure the return of deported Portland college student Hector Lopez.
“Thanks to the Hector Lopez case somebody in Seattle contacted me about a case in our own backyard that is as egregious as anything I’ve seen,” said Isenberg. “It took some fast work. But I’m not surprised by the outcome, because the evidence is so overwhelming in Olga’s favor.”
Friday evening Isenberg says he talked to Zanella’s father by telephone.
“I don’t have many riches,” said Olga’s father, “but what I have is yours. Thank you for saving my daughter.”
Zanella then told Isenberg that she never before had seen her father cry.
Countdown for Olga Zanella WFAA