An ICE spokesman said that Ferreira-De Souza has a final order of deportation from a judge and they are trying to return him to his homeland.
Alce’s lawyer, Thomas Griffin, said federal law enforcement is supposed to be flexible so that the law is enforced fairly. For instance, he said, prosecutors dropped criminal charges against her for having a fake passport in part because of her circumstances and her lack of a prior criminal record.
“She should have been treated not like a criminal committing a crime but like a person fleeing persecution. That’s what she was,” he said.
Alce said she knew she broke the law but she did not understand why immigration officers kept her in jail after prosecutors dropped the charges and she passed her asylum interview. At night she slept fitfully as mice skittered through the cells. She wept so often for her children, a 12-year-old daughter and a son who turned 3 while she was in jail, that others worried for her health. “It was awful,” she said.
She said she and her lawyer asked ICE agent Joseph Gilbert to let her return to her children, but she heard nothing until the Globe asked for an interview. Less than 24 hours later, they whisked her to South Station.
Alce was overjoyed, but her family reunion had to wait even longer.
She had no photo identification, so Amtrak refused to sell her a train ticket, the quickest way home. She took a deep breath and walked to the bus station and bought the fastest one-way ticket she could find.