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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A woman scheduled for a deportation hearing Thursday in Charlotte gave birth to a healthy baby boy, then, hours later, was allowed to stay in the country.

Before the hearing, about 100 people gathered for a rally outside Charlotte Immigration Court to protest what they saw as an injustice against Isaide Serrano.

Serrano came to the United States illegally from a coastal city in Mexico in 1991. She is a mother and housewife, whose children know only the United States as home, said Armando Bellmas, a spokesman for the Latin American Coalition.

Two years ago, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer pulled her over in a traffic stop because her high beams were on. She was taken to jail and placed on a path to deportation. Mecklenburg County is involved in the 287(g) program, which allows deputies to begin deportation proceedings against people in the country illegally.

President Barack Obama s administration has focused on deporting illegal immigrants with criminal records while avoiding use of federal resources to deport otherwise law-abiding people. Federal lawyers and judges have been given prosecutorial discretion to cancel deportations against people in those circumstances, although critics argue that discretion hasn t been used enough.

Prosecutorial discretion is a good thing if it works in the way that it s supposed to, Bellmas said. ...We see where there are instances where prosecutorial discretion is failing.

In Serrano s case, there was another wrinkle she was pregnant. After winding through the bureaucracy, her court date was set for a week after her due date Thursday morning. But the baby was late.

On Thursday just after 5 a.m., she gave birth to a healthy baby boy at Carolinas Medical Center.

Four hours later, she was speaking at the rally outside a federal administrative court on Albemarle Road.

By 11 a.m., the hearing was held and a judge cancelled her deportation.

Then she was on her way back to the hospital to be with her new son.

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