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Yesterday, 100 Ohioans and supporters from around the country walked 21 miles from Mentor to Cleveland, Ohio, in an effort to help reunite Elizabeth Perez’s family, torn apart by her husband’s deportation in 2010.
Elizabeth is a mom of two young U.S. citizens, and is a ten-year veteran of the United States Military, serving in both the National Guard and US Marine Corps, where she was honorably discharged.
Elizabeth has been a long-time advocate for Ohio’s immigrant community, but for the past five years has been waging her own battle fighting to return her husband, Marcos, back to their Ohio home where he belongs.
This March, the family tried applying for humanitarian parole in an effort to bring Marcos back, but it was denied by the government.
“It’s not right for my family, it’s not right for any family,” Elizabeth told the News-Herald yesterday. “There’s got to be another way.”
Elizabeth and her family, however, are not giving up and hope the 21-mile march can bring awareness to our nation’s broken immigration system and the devastating impact deportations have on American families like their’s.
“We need a miracle, so we’re going to sacrifice a little bit by walking the 20 miles and hope that our pleas are heard,” said Veronica Dahlberg, executive director of HOLA Ohio, and one of the march’s organizers.
Additionally, last week America’s Voice released a video highlighting Elizabeth and Marcos’s effort to stay a united Marine family in the face of deportation and separation.
Yesterday’s march ended at St. Casmir’s in Cleveland, a church that has served as an advocate for other Ohio immigrants who have faced deportation, including Ricardo Ramos.
Ramos faced imminent deportation last year, but following help from St. Casmir’s, HOLA Ohio, Elizabeth, and other Ohio advocates, he was able to stay home with his family and children.
Ramos was also present at yesterday’s walk in support of Elizabeth and Marcos, and hopes he can help do the same for them.