TV News & Reviews

Netflix series tells story of pregnant Honduran detained by ICE in Kansas City area

A Netflix series released Wednesday follows eight undocumented families and features the story of a pregnant woman who was detained in the Kansas City area and deported to Honduras.

Kenia Bautista-Mayorga, who was 23 at the time, was taken into custody while she was 5 months pregnant. She fought her deportation because she feared her allegedly abusive ex-husband would harm her, their 3-year-old son and her then-unborn child.

In the series, “Living Undocumented,” cameras follow as Bautista-Mayorga’s partner, Luis Diaz, cares for her son, Noah, after she was detained. It shows Diaz become emotional when he learned her deportation appeal was denied. He can be seen praying with one of their attorneys.

In one scene shot in June 2018, Diaz stood outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s office on North Ambassador Drive in Kansas City, North, holding Noah and hoping to hug Bautista-Mayorga before she was deported. He asked the boy what he wanted.

“Mommy,” he responded.

The camera crew also captured footage that appeared to show Bautista-Mayorga’s Kansas City-based attorney, Andrea Martinez, being shoved to the sidewalk by an ICE officer. Martinez has said she suffered a fracture in her right foot.

Amateur video of the incident was widely shared on the internet. Federal prosecutors in January said the ICE official, Everett Chase, would not be criminally charged.

Bautista-Mayorga had been taken into custody Feb. 25, 2016, when she crossed the border at Eagle Pass, Texas, ICE said. Her family said she crossed with her son to flee her ex-husband, a police officer. She was released that day and indicated she wanted to seek asylum.

Last year, Bautista-Mayorga was arrested after the Missouri Highway Patrol noticed a car drift onto the shoulder of Interstate 35 about 30 miles northeast of Kansas City. She was in the back seat next to Noah. She and Diaz had traveled to Iowa to pick up a family member for a wedding to be held in Texas.

The trooper ticketed Diaz, who was driving, and asked Bautista-Mayorga for identifying documents. Within hours, the couple was separated and she awaited deportation.

After her deportation, Noah thought she abandoned him, Diaz previously told The Star.

“Every night Noah cries and wants to know where his mom is,” he said.

Luis Diaz with Noah. Courtesy of Netflix

The series also follows Bautista-Mayorga as she and Noah travel back to the U.S. with a coyote.

Bautista-Mayorga’s arrest came as President Donald Trump’s administration has changed policies for detaining and removing people living in America illegally, which include ICE’s directive to end the “presumption of release of pregnant detainees.”

Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church in Overland Park will screen the first three episodes of the series at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

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Luke Nozicka covers local crime and federal courts for The Kansas City Star. Before joining The Star, he covered breaking news and courts for The Des Moines Register.