Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dancer's immigration status unclear after tragedy (Miami Herald)

Dancer's immigration status unclear after tragedy
A woman's immigration status is up in the air after her husband kills their daughter and then himself.

First her husband killed their young daughter before turning the gun on himself.

Now, 25-year-old Jissela Cabello may be deported back to Paraguay, her attorney says.

Jorge Rivera says his client lost her legal status when her husband, 34-year-old Victor Cabello, killed himself last week. Cabello had been in the process of obtaining his U.S. citizenship when he shot his sleeping child and then himself early Friday.

When he died, so did his citizenship petition, Rivera said.

Jissela Cabello, who works as a dancer at Alley Cats near Coral Gables, would have obtained permanent legal residence through her husband, Rivera said. If she does not obtain a special visa that provides legal permanent residency for victims of domestic abuse, she may face deportation.

Two weeks before the deaths, Jissela had called police about her husband, alleging domestic abuse. However, she soon bailed him out of jail and vowed she would never report him to the police again.

But at 8 a.m. Friday, she called Miami police again, asking for help in retrieving her clothes.

When officers arrived at the house in the 1700 block of Northwest North River Drive, they found the 4-year-old girl and her father shot dead.

Earlier that morning, according to Jissela, Victor had called her to say their daughter, Yesennia Nicole Cabello, was ill and that he was going to take her to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

He never did.

According to Jissela's account of what followed, she returned home only to find her husband in a jealous rage. He suspected her of cheating on him. When she admitted to having been in a motel with a married man, he snapped.

''Today, the three of us will die,'' he told her.

Saying he had already killed the child, Victor Cabello pulled a knife on his wife. She pleaded with him, and eventually persuaded him to go with her to buy some cigarettes. She took advantage of the diversion, hailed a taxi and fled to a friend's house. That is when she called police.

Before he took his own life, police said, Victor Cabello wrote a suicide note announcing the death of all three.

''He didn't understand that everything was over and that I wanted to be alone,'' said Jissela, who was been married to Victor for 12 years.

This week, she has buried her daughter and her husband. Now she faces the complicated process of obtaining the special visa.

Such a visa requires the domestic violence victim to present a certificate signed by a police officer confirming that she had worked with authorities to detain the abuser. Rivera said he was unsure whether they will be able to obtain the certificate.

Ana Santiago, spokeswoman for the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service, declined to comment on the case, citing privacy laws.

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