“How do you do this on Martin Luther King Jr. Day? It’s another example of the tone-deafness of this administration.” Those are the words of Erik Shelley. Shelley is a leader at Michigan United, an immigrants advocacy group. Shelley is referring to the deportation of Detroit area resident Jorge Garcia.
Mr. Garcia is a 39 year old landscaper from Lincoln Park, Michigan. He has a wife named Cindy, and two kids: Soleil, 15, and Jorge Jr., 12. By all accounts, Mr. Garcia is a hard-working man who pays his taxes and has never had so much as a parking ticket. Oh, and his parents brought him here from Mexico when he was 10 years old.
Regardless of all of the good things about Mr. Garcia, he has been deported. He is doesn’t qualify for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; only the children of undocumented immigrants who were under 16 and born after June 15, 1981, are eligible, and DACA is currently in limbo anyways. Mr. Garcia had hoped that ICE officers would allow him to wait until new DACA legislation is passed, had hoped that perhaps he’d be eligible under a new policy. But they refused.
So, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Mr. Garcia and his family went to Detroit Metro Airport. He hugged his wife and his children, told them goodbye, and boarded a plane to Mexico, a country he hasn’t been to since he left when he was a child. There’s a possibility he won’t be allowed to re-enter the United States for 10 years. Both of his children will be adults by then. Mrs. Garcia will now have to raise her children on her own. And Mr. Garcia will have to start a new life, alone.
This is what happens when the party of “family values” talks about deporting illegal immigrants. This is what our country looks like under President Donald Trump.