To understand all that’s broken about the current administration’s handling of undocumented immigrants, all you have to see is this video from the Cleveland Plain Dealer showing Jesus Lara Lopez, a 37-year-old father of four, saying farewell to his young children—maybe forever—before being deported back to Mexico.
Lopez had tears in his eyes as he hugged his children in the Cleveland airport this morning before his flight to Mexico. He had been in the country for 16 years, during which he worked in fields and factories, most recently a graveyard shift packing Milano cookies and Goldfish crackers at Pepperidge Farm. He paid taxes, was never on food stamps, and he was never charged with a crime.
His four children are American citizens.
Lopez’s attorney, David Leopold, told Cleveland.com that he filed a final appeal to the deportation on Friday, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials never responded. ICE was also unmoved by a petition with 34,000 signatures, along with appeals from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who begged them to reconsider.
Lara Lopez was originally caught on a 2008 tip to police but was allowed to stay and work in the country even after a 2011 deportation order. The third-party staffing company that hired him to work at Pepperidge Farm told ABC News he had a valid work permit when they hired him in October 2016.
While the Obama administration had prioritized deporting undocumented immigrants who had committed violent crimes, President Trump has loosed ICE agents on otherwise law abiding parents, the infirm, young people previously protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and victims of domestic violence.