Recently, a group of immigrant families gathered in effort to convince the Immigration and Customs Enforcement not to deport a man who came to South Carolina from Mexico illegally in 1999.
The gathering at a Simpsonville church drew about two dozen people who prayed, sang and listened to the man talk about his life. The man, who is scheduled to be deported on Oct. 7, is a father to three, including a young son who suffers from disabilities.
The deportation proceedings began after the man was arrested for driving without a valid license. The man was on his way home from work one night and was stopped at a driver's license checkpoint. Because South Carolina does not issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, the man did not have one.
The man was brought to the United States as a 14-year-old boy and has lived here ever since. He owns a construction drywall business and reportedly never applied for citizenship. Organizers of the gathering say that the man's case is low-priority and that ICE's recent policy change should prevent him from being deported.
Sadly, many other people in South Carolina are in a similar situation and could end up facing deportation and removal charges after committing low-level crimes. Facing deportation is an extremely stressful and scary situation for anyone to go through.
Not only could the person lose everything that he or she worked hard to achieve in the United States, they could also be torn away from their family and community. That's why it's so important to take steps to achieve legal status before it is too late.
For people already facing deportation or removal, it's important to speak to an experienced immigration attorney who can help defend their case.
Source: WYFF 4, "Supporters gather to stop Upstate man's deportation," Mike McCormick, Sept. 7, 2013