Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET
Immigration officials say the lone survivor of a family killed in a mile-long pileup along Interstate 75 on Sunday south of Gainesville, Fla., will not be deported.
Relatives who want Lidiane Carmo, 15, to live with them in the United States feared she may be deported. The Carmo family moved to the U.S. from Brazil 12 years ago, NBC station WXIA reported. They were undocumented, WXIA said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said the high school freshman will not be forced to return to Brazil.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Miss Lidiane Carmo as she deals with the tragic loss of her family," Gonzalez said in a written statement reported by several media outlets. "ICE's stated priorities include convicted criminals, immigration fugitives, repeat immigration law violators and recent border crossers."
Lidiane Carmo, 15, a ninth-grader at Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Ga., was part of a group of 15 from the International Church of the Restoration in Marietta. They were returning home after a three-day religious conference in Orlando, Fla.
A mix of fog and smoke from a nearby brush fire made visibility difficult on six-lane I-75 on Sunday when at least a dozen cars, six tractor-trailers and a motor-home collided. Wreckage was so bad that it took more than two days to find the accident's 11th victim, who was in a pickup truck where two bodies were discovered earlier, officials said Wednesday.
Jose Carmo Jr., 43, a founding pastor of the church, his wife, Adriana, 39 and their oldest daughter, Leticia, 17 died in the crash. Lidiane Carmo's uncle, Edsom, 38, and his girlfriend, Rose DeSilva, 41, also died. The teen is hospitalized in Gainesville with serious injuries. She was told Tuesday her family had died.
A Georgia teen who lost her entire family in a Florida interstate crash now faces deportation. WXIA's Jon Shirek reports.
At a church meeting Tuesday night, Brazil's deputy consul general in Atlanta, Ana Rodrigues, offered the government's condolences, but could not promise any help or hope.
"Immigration issues are a matter of the American government," Rodrigues said.
And she was not able to say whether the Brazilian government would be able to consider the family's request for financial help to fly the bodies back to Marietta for the funerals, and to Brazil for the burials.
"I can't say yes or no. It's impossible, because I can't make this decision," she told the congregation.
Lidiane Carmo now faces the prospect of a long hospital recovery without health insurance. She has already undergone surgery for injuries sustained in the crash and could face further operations, the Daily Mail of London reported Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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