The Miami Herald
Mon, Sep. 27, 2004

Army sergeant's Ecuadorean wife faces deportation

Patricia Acosta Delgado, an Ecuadorean woman married for six years to a U.S. Army sergeant, is facing deportation -- despite her husband's tour of duty in Iraq last year.


The Ecuadorean wife of a U.S. Army sergeant who returned last year from a tour of duty in Iraq is facing deportation after an immigration judge found her to be in the country illegally.

Jorge Rivera, a Miami immigration lawyer representing Sgt. Frank Cabadiana and his wife, Patricia Acosta Delgado, said deporting the woman would tear the family apart.

The Hollywood couple, married for six years, have a 10-year-old son, Andrés, from a previous relationship by Acosta Delgado.

A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement had no immediate response to a query on the case Sunday.


Rivera said he plans to appear on Despierta America, a morning talk show on the Spanish-language network Univisión, Tuesday to rally support from the community in a bid to delay or preempt Acosta Delgado's deportation.

''We can't punish one of our very own with destroying his family,'' Rivera said.

The couple's ordeal began three months ago after Acosta Delgado was stopped by a Miami-Dade police officer at a checkpoint, Cabadiana said.

The officer discovered that her name was on a list of foreign nationals marked for deportation. She was subsequently turned over to immigration and eventually transported to a detention facility in Newark, N.J., Cabadiana said.


Acosta Delgado entered the United States through the Mexico-California border as a teenager in 1988, was arrested by the Border Patrol and put in deportation proceedings, he said. An immigration court hearing was scheduled, but Acosta Delgado missed it, prompting a deportation order, Cabadiana said.

Cabadiana, an Ecuadorean American, and Acosta Delgado were married in 1998.

The couple then moved to Miami, where Cabadiana enlisted in the Florida National Guard.

Cabadiana has been an army staff sergeant for 24 years.

''I am physically and mentally destroyed,'' Cabadiana said.

``If they deport her, I will ask to be chained to her and deported, too.''