Jesus Berrones, 30, was first brought to the U.S. without immigration documents in 1989, when he was 1. Since then, he’s worked to establish a life here, he married a U.S. citizen, and together they are raising a family of five children in Arizona.
In 2016, his now 5–year–old son was diagnosed with leukemia, for which he is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment. The couple is pregnant with their sixth child, and Berrones is the family’s sole financial provider.
Despite all of this, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ordered Berrones to be deported to Mexico on Monday, HuffPost reported this weekend.
According to that report, Berrones was caught driving with a fake license when he was 19. He was deported to Mexico, and then re–entered the U.S. without immigration documents two more times to be reunited with his family.
When his son was diagnosed with cancer nearly two years ago, ICE granted a stay of removal, which HuffPost says is often ordered when parents must care for their sick children.
But that status has now changed a year into the Trump administration, which has been carrying out a draconian nationwide immigration crackdown that the president falsely claimed would focus mainly on dangerous criminals.
The report notes:
Last year, under the new Trump administration, Berrones went to ICE to refile a stay, and officials told him it was not necessary because he was no longer a deportation priority, [Berrones’ lawyer, Garrett] Wilkes said. But in January, Berrones got a notice from ICE that he would be deported. The lawyer filed another request for a stay, but it was recently denied.
Berrones has since taken refuge in the Shadow Rock United Church of Christ in Phoenix, one of many sanctuary churches across the country that are aiding undocumented immigrants targeted by ICE for deportation in an effort to protect family unity. He says he will remain there until a legal solution is found that will allow him to stay.
“We’re scared,” his wife, Sonia Berrones, told HuffPost. “The kids will ask me: ‘Where’s Daddy?’”