At the age of 10, Jorge Garcia was brought to the United States illegally. Though he has lived in America for the past three decades, has no criminal record, and reportedly paid taxes, he was deported to Mexico on Monday.
Ahead of the airport security checkpoint at the Detroit Metro Airport, Garcia hugged his wife, Cindy, and their two children. The departing was emotional, to say the least. And, Garcia’s family weren’t the only ones to see him off. Supporters who disagree with the government’s decision held signs which read, “Stop Separating Families.”
— Michigan United (@MichiganUnited) January 15, 2018
Garcia’s deportation has raised controversy, as the only reason the father was forced to leave the United States is because he is disqualified from applying for protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It will be another 10 years before Garcia will be allowed to return to the place he calls “home.”
“I feel kind of sad,” he told the Free Press, holding back tears. “I got to leave my family behind, knowing that they’re probably going to have a hard time adjusting. Me not being there for them for who knows how long. It’s just hard.”
Garcia lived in Lincoln Park with his family and worked as a landscaper. Reuters reports that he was told by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to return to Mexico in November. Speaking to the newspaper, Garcia said he asked the agency if they would allow him more time. They declined to move his January 15 deadline.
“Stop Separating Families,” read signs from supporters of Jorge as he prepares to board flight for Mexico in a deportation by ICE, part of crackdown by Trump administration: pic.twitter.com/Vl47minwpd
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) January 15, 2018
Many local activists, such as Erik Shelley (the leader with the activist group Michigan United), were outraged. “How do you do this on Martin Luther King Jr. Day?” Shelley asked. “It’s another example of the tone-deafness of this administration … If Jorge isn’t safe, no one is safe.”
Insult was added to injury when, on the same day, US President Donald Trump tweeted that Democrats “don’t want to” make a deal on DACA. As Reuters reports, the Obama-era immigration order was challenged by the Trump administration and, thus, put to an end. Only last week did a judge bar the present administration from repealing the program.
One thing is for sure, law reform is needed. No comprehensive legislation has been passed since 1986 and meanwhile, families such as the Garcias suffer. Please comment your thoughts below and share this news!
Image Credit: Natalie Gallagher