Jorge García, a 39-year-old Mexico native who lived in the Detroit area for 30 years, was deported to Mexico on Monday (January 15) after a nine-year struggle to remain in the United States. Too old to qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—which shields immigrants who were under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012—García leaves behind his U.S. citizen wife and two teenage children. His case is one that immigration advocates say highlights the cruelty of President Donald Trump’s expansive immigration policy overhaul.
García arrived in the U.S. at age 10 as an immigrant of undocumented status, and was granted stays from deportation by the Obama administration. But on Monday, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) escorted García to a plane in Detroit Metropolitan Airport that was bound for Mexico, according to the Detroit Free Press.
García’s wife, Cindy, told The Detroit News: "It’s just a nightmare. You can’t even put it into words how it feels. It was rough because we knew he was going to leave eventually. All we could do is make memories."
Michigan United, a nonprofit immigration advocacy group, posted a video of García’s separation from his family on its Facebook page.
Khalid Walls, a regional communications director at ICE, told The Detroit News on Monday that the agency had no comment on García’s removal because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
García is the latest victim of Trump’s interior deportation policy, which was expanded via a January 2017 executive order that saw interior removals—people deported after being detained by ICE in places other than the border—increase by 37 percent, to 61,000 deportations, over the previous year.