HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A Hartford woman who has been in ICE custody since March will now be allowed to stay in Connecticut. She says she is excited to get back to her life and her family.
Wayzaro Walton was brought to the U.S. at the age of four. She has been living in Hartford since 1987 has since obtained legal status.
She first gained the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2011 when she was convicted of felony shoplifting. She served her time and was released. The judge ruled she would have a hold placed on her because she is a convicted felon. The state of Connecticut stepped in and pardoned those crimes so she could stay in the state, but ICE did not recognize the pardon.
ICE took her into custody in March and was planning on deporting her until the state stepped in yet again. Now, the federal government has said those pardons are good and that she can stay.
According to Walton’s attorney, she is allowed to stay and apply for citizenship. He believes this decision will set precedents that will help other illegal immigrants in the same circumstances.
At an emotional news conference Monday, Walton looked back at her jail time, frustrated by the process.
“For me to be sitting in jail and I haven’t got into no kind of trouble in over eight years, this is crazy, you commit a crime you go to jail. OK this is going to be my consequences. But to be sitting in jail for no reason for eight months it was really hard.”
“I hope that people can have more faith that it can happen, because honestly there were times when I lost my faith, am I really going to make it out of here?”– Wayzaro Walton
Her wife, Tamika Ferguson, echoing Walton’s frustration in the ordeal, saying that the process has traumatized her family.
“When you go to jail and have a date, she had no date. She didn’t know what was going to happen, when she was going to go home, if she was going to go home, so that was traumatizing for her. ”– Tamika Ferguson, wife of Wayzaro Walton
The couple has a daughter, and together they would drive to New Hampshire to visit with Walton while she was waiting for the judge’s decision.
Walton says she is glad to be moving forward with her life again.
“I couldn’t have gotten through it without my wife and daughter. I don’t know what I would do without them.”– Wayzaro Walton