Last month, Ms. Flores, 37, dropped off her youngest daughter at school and boarded an N train on 59th Street in Brooklyn, bound for work on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She chose the second car because she was heavily pregnant and tired, and she wanted a seat where she could take a nap.
Soon smoke filled the air and she held her breath. A man laughed and said they would all die. There were thumps as other commuters ran to her side of the car, she said.
“At that moment, I just felt that fear in me,” she said. “I grabbed my phone and started recording some videos.”
Sharing the footage with police may have seemed like an ordinary act, but it was a bold move for Ms. Flores, who is subject to a deportation order issued after immigration officials raided an Amtrak train she was on in 2000. Ms. Flores said she never received a hearing and only found out years later.
But after the shooting, all she could think about was her unborn child.
“I wanted him to be okay,” she said. “I didn’t think, ‘Oh, something will happen to me if I talk to them.'”
Her lawyer, Mr. Gomez Alfaro, plans to ask an immigration court in Buffalo, NY, to lift the removal order and said he is optimistic about recent federal guidelines to end deportation cases against people with no criminal history.
But, he said, the city needs to expedite paperwork in support of its application for a U-visa, reserved for victims of crimes, including assault and attempted murder. Applicants must submit certification to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from a law enforcement agency certifying that they assisted with the investigation.