A local woman who committed passport fraud is expected to be deported after being in Chattanooga since around 1993, but a federal judge indicated it would not be soon.
Judge Sandy Mattice indicated he may grant probation to Alejandra Ceniceros, who is originally from Guatemala. She had faced a sentencing guideline range of 10-16 months.
During the probation period, he said he "wants to know the names" of any ICE agent who tries to take her in for deportation.
Judge Mattice acknowledged though that he cannot keep her on probation "indefinitely."
Attorney Dan Ripper said Ms. Ceniceros tried to gain citizenship soon after she arrived, but "she didn't get anywhere."
He said she has raised "two beautiful daughters" who were in court for her sentencing. He asked them to stand up.
One of the daughters will soon graduate from UTC and is a U.S. citizen, attorney Ripper said.
He said the younger daughter is also doing well in school.
Authorities said Ms. Ceniceros bought personal data about another Hispanic woman from that woman's uncle and was able to get a passport in the other woman's name in 2007. Using the false document, she has been back to Guatemala three times to visit her family.
Ms. Ceniceros applied in 2017 for renewal of the passport, still using the other woman's name and giving her own Chattanooga address.
The problem arose when the other woman applied for a passport herself in Houston in 2018. Ms. Ceniceros was then questioned by immigration officials and admitted the fraud.
Judge Mattice said he would announce his decision within a couple of weeks.