39-year-old husband and father Jorge Garcia was recently torn from his family and deported because ICE determined that he was too old to qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an amnesty program that once allowed children residence in the United States. Garcia has been living in the US since he was 10 years old when his parents crossed the border in search of a better life. Garcia is an upstanding citizen and has no criminal record.

“I feel kind of sad. 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 told reporters before his deportation.

“I’m going to be sad because I’m not going to be able to be with them… It’s going to be kind of hard for me to adjust, too. Not being there with them, helping the kids with school stuff. It’s going to be kind of hard. But it’s something, I guess I got to find a way to adjust,” he added.

ICE spokesperson Khaalid Walls, told CNN that, “Mr. Jorge Garcia-Martinez, an unlawfully present citizen of Mexico, was ordered removed by an immigration judge in June 2006. ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.”

Garcia’s wife Cindy said he had been attempting to obtain legal citizenship for years.

According to Cindy, their family has spent over $125,000 in legal fees in the past 10 years trying to obtain legal citizenship.

“We did not want to let him go. We said our goodbyes, we told him we love you, we’re going to miss you, but you don’t want to let someone go that you love. It’s very hard. I understand that the president wants to protect our borders. But at the same time, if my husband was brought here as a child, he has no criminal record, each individual case needs to be looked at because we try to do the right thing. It’s not like we didn’t. We tried,” Cindy said.

“He came at 10 years old, so somebody brought him into the country. So there was nothing he possibly could have done. There will be no ICE coming to the door to try and deport me because I am a U.S. citizen. There’s nothing ICE can do to shut me up,” she added.

As the Garcia family said their goodbyes at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Monday, activists stood nearby holding signs that said “Stop Separating Families!”


Featured image: Niraj Warikoo‏/Twitter.