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A federal judge has ordered the deportation of Andrea Herrera, a.k.a. Kat Stacks – but her mother Johnyelsi Cardenas is fighting to get her daughter a green card. Herrera’s lawyer, Mayra Jolie, and attorney Jose Guerrero talk about an immigration judge's ruling.
She is known as Kat Stacks, the young woman with a huge hip hop fan base, racy photos on the Internet, and almost 250,000 followers on Twitter.
But these days she is called by her real name, Andrea Herrera, at the Louisiana immigration facility where she’s being held – and a federal judge has ordered her deported to Venezuela.
Herrera’s Miami lawyer is appealing the order, as her mother, Johnyelsi Cardenas, fights to get her daughter a green card and ultimately citizenship. She said the same Obama administration policy that is helping young immigrants defer deportation for two years should help Herrera, 22.
“Kat Stacks is a character. That persona is not my daughter,” said Cardenas, who has custody of Herrera's two-year-old son.
Nicki Minaj and 50 Cent have sung about Stacks, a highly provocative character who is well known in the hip hop world. She has boasted about having sex with hip hop stars and cashed in on her notoriety.
But the young woman, who grew up in Aventura and came here when she was eight, says she is a victim of sex trafficking.
Before her son was born, Herrera was picked up on a prostitution charge in New York. She defended herself on her mother’s website.
“The laws are supposed to protect victims like me from all the underage stuff that happened because all my charges were when I was underage, and I was under the influence of a pimp,” she said in a phone call on the website.
Cardenas said she wants her daughter to have the same immigration path as Daniela Pelaez, the North Miami Senior High School valedictorian who was allowed to remain in the U.S. under a presidential executive order.
“All that she went through on the street, she created that person, Kat, to survive,” Cardenas said.
Immigration Judge Jerry Beatmann Sr. ruled in Louisiana, however, that “her conduct was in no way indicative of someone who wants to help others, make positive changes, or be a role model.”
The judge said that it’s not in the country’s best interest to adjust Herrera’s immigration status, and thus denied her an adjustment.
Immigration attorney Jose Guerrero said it was a fair decision.
“I don't consider that it’s an abuse of discretion based on the facts. Basically this person had two convictions,” he said. Beatmann also considered other factors such as that Herrera was “impersonating a person on the Internet and using that not to help people – actually to promote herself – and doing wrong things,” Guerrero noted.
Herrera’s lawyer, Mayra Jolie, is appealing the ruling. She said the judge’s judge is to determine whether Herrera is eligible for a green card, not “for him to clean our society of people that he doesn’t believe will be an asset to society.”
Now, Herrera is waiting to see when she can make her case again.