Woman released from jail to fight cancer now recovering at home - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Woman released from jail to fight cancer now recovering at home

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Ruth Alvarez, the undocumented woman who asked to be released from a Maricopa County jail to fight stage 3 breast cancer, is now recovering in her Phoenix home from a life-saving mastectomy.

Alvarez was in jail for 17 days facing charges for using a false ID to get work. In a rare plea deal, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery agreed to reduce her felony charges to misdemeanor charges. Alvarez pled guilty and was released in time to undergo the mastectomy she scheduled before her arrest.

But she says her freedom has limits. She can stay in the Unites States. She just can't work.

"So many people got to go through this because we don't have any options. We still got families. We still got to take care, still got to work. We are only asking for one opportunity, to work," says Alvarez.

Alvarez took the path millions do. She journeyed across the desert from Mexico into Arizona 15 years ago.

Then, a single mother, she says applying and paying to come legally were out of reach, so she came illegally with her three-year-old daughter and a dream.

"It was very dangerous because you don't even know the people when you come. You just come with a dream on your hand...you get a better life" says Alvarez.

The county will no longer jail her. She says Immigration and Customs Enforcement have no interest in deporting her because of her cancer.

Her life in limbo, Alvarez says she wants more than ever to become an American citizen for her college-bound daughter and her American-born 4-year-old son.

"It's the only way I can be free and take care of my family and raise them without being in the shades at all," she says, "to be me for my whole family."

Alvarez's husband is a U.S. citizen. Alvarez says she will apply to become a U.S. citizen through her husband. His insurance and donations help pay for her treatment.
Alvarez's family has set up the following fund to help cover medical costs:
Arizona Federal Account #: 004353355
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