TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - A Venezuelan family facing deportation will be able to stay in Tampa for at least one more year.
Jennifer Infante, her husband, and their two children, went before immigration authorities Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to avoid going back to Venezuela.
"Our lives were in danger," said Infante, who has worked tirelessly to keep her family together.
The couple's daughter, Madison, was born in the United States, and is therefore a U.S. citizen. But with strict orders to go back to their country, the family was worried they would be separated from their daughter.
However, ICE officials granted the family a one-year extension.
"They have to take into account what's going to happen to the U.S. citizen if the family gets deported," said Paul Palacios, an immigration attorney for Migrants Foundation.
According to Palacios, immigration authorities likely weighed multiple factors specific to this family's case, including Venezuela's current political and social turmoil.
Infante says her family came to Florida five years ago after receiving death threats in their hometown of Maracaibo, the capital of the state of Valencia. Her husband, William Paredes, served as a K9 officer and said he refused to give into corruption.
Shortly after arriving to Florida on tourist visas, Infante and Paredes applied for asylum. The request was denied, but as their case played out, they welcomed a baby girl.
The couple says returning to Venezuela at this time would be a nightmare. With long power outages, limited food, medicine, skyrocketing inflation and crime rates, Infante says surviving would be a struggle.
The family's attorney, Paul Palacios, contacted Sen. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio for assistance in this case. Palacios said it definitely helped.
Though the family only has one more year to stay in the United States legally, they hope Congress passes a bill that would grant Venezuelans temporary protective status. Several U.S. senators, like Rubio and Scott, have expressed their support, but President Trump has not said whether he will sign off on it.
"We will continue to fight," said Infante, who vows she will do everything to keep her family safe.