Cristian Padilla Romero, a Cross Keys High School graduate who is now studying for a doctoral degree at Yale University, is fighting to prevent the deportation of his mother, Tania Romero, who is recovering from stage 4 mouth and neck cancer.

Attorneys seek release of cancer patient in Georgia facing deportation

Attorneys representing a Chamblee woman recovering from stage 4 mouth and neck cancer have filed court papers seeking to block her deportation and free her from a federal immigration detention center in South Georgia.

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing on Tania Romero’s case for 10 a.m. Thursday in Macon. A former construction worker and mother of four children, Romero, 48, is being held at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla.

Her case had drawn national attention, thanks to advocacy by her son, Cristian Padilla Romero, 24, a Cross Keys High School graduate who is pursuing a doctoral degree in history at Yale University. Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams have tweeted in support of her, and U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath’s office has assisted her family.

Romero, who entered the country illegally 20 years ago, underwent surgery, radiation treatment and chemotherapy for her illness in 2017. She’s still being monitored.

The government sent her notices to appear in Immigration Court, but she never showed up, so she was ordered deported in absentia. Romero never received the notices because they were sent to an outdated address and returned to the sender, her attorneys said.

Deporting her, according to her attorneys, would be “devastating to her health and well-being.”

“Because of her grave medical condition and the lack of adequate oncological care in Honduras,” her new court petition says, “removal would constitute a constitutionally impermissible violation of life and liberty.”

She is being represented by the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School and the Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton law firm in Atlanta.

Justice Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Department officials declined to comment on her case Wednesday.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.