DETROIT — Jorge Garcia came to the United States illegally with his parents when he was 10 years old. He’s now 39.
He arrived one year before he could qualify under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He has a wife and two children who are United States citizens.
On Monday morning, the Garcia family had a family friend drive them to the airport, where they had been told Garcia would be deported.
Cindy Garcia said the moment didn’t feel real until the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stepped up to take him.
“That’s when the tears just started flowing, because we knew that was going to be it it wasn’t much that we could do,” Cindy Garcia told WXYZ-TV.
Cindy Garcia said she and her husband have been working since 2005 to help Jorge Garcia become a legal citizen.
He’s regularly checked in with ICE agents and filed extensions.
“In total we’ve given immigration over $125,000,” Cindy Garcia said.
Cindy Garcia said some bad legal help set them back and they’ve never had a clear path to citizenship for Jorge Garcia.
Which means they’ve been checking in for years, hoping to find a solution.
“We’ve never done anything without the permission from immigrations because anytime we leave the city you have to tell them where you are going,” Cindy Garcia said.
The last time the family checked in with immigration agents in November, they told them Jorge Garcia would have to leave on Jan. 15.
Cindy Garcia said agents told her that because Jorge Garcia doesn’t have a criminal record, he could stay through the Christmas holiday.
The couple have two children, 12-year-old Jorge Jr. and 15-year-old Soleil.
“It’s a nightmare. They’re sad, they’re depressed, they don’t really comprehend everything that’s going on. All they know is their dad is gone and they don’t know when they’re going to see him again,” Cindy Garcia said.
Cindy Garcia said she is working on getting Jorge Garcia back to the U.S. but it’s going to be at least 18 months until she get a hearing with consulate.