Former Durham student deported after struggling to stay in U.S.

Wendy Miranda

DURHAM (WTVD) - A former Durham student struggling to stay in the United States has been deported after a long and highly-publicized fight to stay in the country and marry her high school sweetheart.

Wendy Miranda, 23, was born in El Salvador. She's been held at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Louisiana since March.

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Indeed, Miranda has kept a clean record since entering the U.S., but she's been on the government's radar since she was first caught trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in 2008. According to federal officials, Miranda was an unaccompanied teenager, and thus granted temporary entry into the United States, pending deportation hearings.

Miranda's family claimed she fled her native El Salvador after witnessing a crime and worried her life was threatened by gang violence. Robert Paulino, Miranda's high school sweetheart, was in a race against the clock to marry her before she was deported. Miranda was taken to the airport earlier this month but was returned to the detention center. Miranda and Paulino got engaged about a year ago, but by March she had lost the last of several appeals. "We can stay together even when she do get deported, we can still be together," Paulino said.