WXXI AM News

Abigail Hernandez makes appearance in immigration court

Aug 22, 2018

Just one day after her sentencing for the charge of making terroristic threats against East High School, Abigail Hernandez, the 21- year-old special needs student charged with making terroristic threats against her school, appeared in immigration court.

During the hearing, Hernandez answered several questions to clarify her immigration status. Her family claims she was brought to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 3 by her mother, and that they were escaping domestic violence.

Hernandez was protected under DACA until she was accused of threatening to shoot students at her former school in a Facebook post. Her family maintains that she would be unable to carry out these threats because of her intellectual disability, but she was determined mentally competant to stand trial.

Hernandez pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor. On Tuesday, she was sentenced to three years probabtion.

But Hernandez could face a weightier consequence -- the U.S. government is seeking to deport her back to Mexico.

At the hearing, Hernandez’s lawyer, Hannah Hough of the Legal Aid Society in Rochester, said they are planning to present a case for asylum, and relief from removal. They have until Sept. 26 to build that case.

It is unclear what circumstances would qualify Hernandez for asylum under current federal law.