What could have been a dream come true, turned into a nightmare for Mirna Valenzuela, a Mexican woman who won $1,200 at an Arizona casino and later faced deportation, after U.S. authorities discovered her undocumented status.
According to KVOA, Valenzuela was playing the jackpot at the Casino del Sol Resort in Tucson, with her daughter Zamira Osorio, when they found out they won. While trying to claim their prize, both women were asked by the casino staff to provide their personal identifications.
Casino officials suspected their documentation was fraudulent, and called Pascua Yaqui police who confirmed their doubts.
Osorio was later released because she qualifies for the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, The Associated Press reports. However, Valenzuela didn’t have the same luck, and was immediately turned over to the Border Patrol and deported to Mexico.
Casino officials assured the federal law requires winners to show identification for tax purposes for any jackpot prize that matches or exceeds $1,200.
A casino’s spokesperson alleged the winnings are still available for Valenzuela to cash them with the proper legal documentation, although her daughter says that won’t be possible since her mother has already left the country.
Correction: A previous version of this article mentioned that federal law requires winners to show identification for tax purposes for any jackpot prize that exceeds $1,200. The requirement also goes into effect when the prize value matches $1,200.