Olga Zanella, a Mexican-born college student in Texas, should have started months ago trying to figure out how she could make a life in Mexico, since American immigration authorities were working resolutely to deport her there.
But Ms. Zanella, 20, could not bring herself to make plans. She was paralyzed by fear of a violent country she could not remember, where she had no close family.
Ms. Zanella, who has been living illegally in the United States since her parents brought her here when she was 5, had been trying to fight her deportation for more than two years. She was pulled over by the local police in February 2009 as she was driving in her hometown, Irving, Tex., and did not have a driver’s license. The police handed her over to immigration agents.