CHICAGO (CBS) — A 17 year-old girl living in Lake County, Illinois found out Wednesday evening that she will be allowed to stay in the United States.
Maryori Orbina was facing deportation.
Her immigration hearing was confidential, but Orbina wanted media present, and her request was granted by the judge. Orbina was seeking asylum in the United States, citing fear for her safety and life if she was forced to return to her native Honduras.
Orbina was surrounded by friends, family and supporters Wednesday afternoon outside the building housing courtrooms for immigration review. Among them was her mother and two sisters, who were born in the U.S.
The gravity of her situation weighed heavily on Orbina before she headed into her hearing. “I’m really nervous. I just hope I’m allowed to stay here safe with my family. I know God is with me. I hope everything goes OK.”
Orbina testified for about an hour and a half about the dangers she faced in Honduras before fleeing the country at the age of 13; she arrived in the U.S. illegally in March 2014. While in Honduras, she said gang members forced their way into her home and robbed her family on two occasions. She also said she was robbed at gun point in a taxi and witnessed a murder.
Orbina, as well as her supporters, feared that if she was forced to return to Honduras, she would be killed to prevent her from testifying. She also feared she would be forced into prostitution.
“It’s not conceivable for her to return to Honduras,” Orbina mother, Julie, said. “We’re not going to let her go. She deserves the right to say safe in this country, the United States of America.”