Hearing in Tacoma will determine whether she returns to Washington County for service

Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros will likely find out this morning if she will be allowed to return to Washington County to serve out her sentence of three years probation and 250 hours of community service.

An immigration judge was expected to hold a hearing today, Wednesday, March 5, in a Tacoma courtroom. The News-Times will post results of the hearing on-line.

Garcia, 19, drove through a giant leaf pile in Forest Grove on Oct. 20, 2013 and unknowingly killed two young girls lying there — then failed to return to the scene when she found out what had happened a short while later.

She was convicted Jan. 31 of “failure to perform the duties of a driver,” a Class B felony, and transferred from the Washington County Jail to a federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement facility in Tacoma.

Garcia was illegally brought to the United States from Mexico when she was 4 years old but had recently gained temporary legal status through the federal Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program. Her felony conviction erased that status.

Courtney Carter, Garcia’s immigration attorney, has collected letters from community members and has also been trying to get letters from the parents of the girls who were killed, supporting Garcia’s release — at least in the short term — in order for her to complete her community service and probation in Washington County.

If the immigration judge rules in favor of letting her return to Oregon, Garcia could face a hefty bail payment before she is actually released — as much as $10,000 to $20,000, according to Carter.

Garcia’s father, Mario Garcia Sr., has been working to save money for that. But the family could also get help from concerned community members. Adelante Mujeres, a Forest Grove nonprofit that works to empower low-income Latinas, is promoting three separate funds at Premier Community Bank to help the families shattered by the tragedy.

One is the ongoing memorial fund for Anna Dieter-Eckerdt, 6, and Abigail Robinson, 11, the two sisters killed in the accident. The girls’ parents, Tom Robinson and Susan Dieter-Eckerdt, will use the money in ways that honor the spirits of their daughters.

Another is the Cinthya Garcia Family Hardship Fund, which will aid Garcia’s family wherever they need help — whether to meet the bail payment or to help them start a new life in Mexico if she is deported. Garcia’s father and brother have said they would go with her if she is sent back to Mexico.

As of Tuesday, 54 people had donated $2,573 to Garcia’s account.

A third account has been set up for Mario Echeverria, Garcia’s boyfriend, who was in the vehicle with her at the time she ran over the two sisters and is now serving 13 months in prison for “hindering prosecution.” See box below for donation information.

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