Crystal Lake student detained by ICE since October could be released soon
A Crystal Lake Central High School student detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in October soon will return to her classes.
Meydi Guzman Rivas, 18, a Honduran native and senior at Crystal Lake Central, is facing deportation.
On Wednesday, federal Judge Samuel Cole in Chicago ordered Rivas to be released on a $2,000 bond, and he moved to reopen her removal proceedings, allowing her to stay in the country for the time being.
"She is free to go back to school," said attorney Nathan Reyes, who is handling the teen's case pro bono along with attorney Kevin Bruning with the law firm Bruning and Associates of Chicago, Crystal Lake and Schaumburg.
Rivas' next court date has not been set. It's unclear how long her petition for asylum/withdrawal of removal could take, Reyes said.
"It's a huge win for us today," Sara Huser, her school counselor, said Wednesday.
"We are beyond thrilled at this news and cannot wait to get her home and back in school," Huser announced on a GoFundMe page she started for Rivas, raising more than $10,000 toward her court costs and legal defense.
After hearing her release had been granted, Rivas started dancing, waving her hands in the air while on video chat with Huser.
"She was absolutely ecstatic," Huser said.
Rivas came to the United States in June 2018 with her father, Fabio Guzman-Reyes.
They fled Honduras after Rivas was gang-raped and told she would become the property of that gang, Crystal Lake attorney Beth Vonau said. Father and daughter sought asylum in the United States. But after they missed a court date last February, according to U.S. officials, their cases were continued until October.
When Rivas and her father appeared in court for their hearing on Oct. 16, ICE agents were waiting to take them into custody.
Nearly four months in detention have taken a toll on Rivas, Huser said.
"The whole thing was very traumatic because she's a child," Huser said. "It's a lot of things we're going to have to work through so she is able to move forward in a healthy way."
Crystal Lake community members and Central teachers rallying around her through letters and donations have kept Rivas' spirits up, Huser said.
"We have just been surrounded by encouragement and support," Huser said. "It's just been amazing. We really are so grateful for absolutely everything that people have done to help us and to support us on this journey."
Guzman-Reyes also was ordered to be released on bond Wednesday; his status is unknown at this time. He is not being represented by his daughter's attorneys.
Before her detention, Rivas was on track to graduate with her peers in May. Huser couldn't say for sure if Rivas could make up for lost time by then, but added she would be able to graduate by the end of summer.
"The journey is not over as her case still needs to be determined and asylum granted, but the fact that she has been released and will be allowed to return to school in the meantime is a huge win," Huser wrote.