For more than a year now, the Trump Administration’s deportation force has targeted immigrants all over the country, leading to the removal of countless mothers and fathers who have lived in the U.S. for decades and haven’t done anything wrong. Now, a Georgia family worries that it may be their turn.
Felix Garcia is a longtime Georgia resident, an aspiring American, and the father of three daughters, including a medical student and a young U.S. citizen. Earlier this year, during a regular annual check-in, Felix was detained by ICE with no explanation.
Felix came to the U.S. in 1995 to seek asylum. He went in front of a judge without a lawyer or interpreter, and — without a way to make his case — was ordered deported. In 2009, ICE showed up at the carpet factory where Felix worked and took down information on all the employees. Over the next two years, Felix cooperated with the ICE investigation against the employer, and was not deemed a priority for deportation under the Obama Administration. Felix was allowed to stay with his family as long as he continued to check in with ICE on an annual basis.
That changed with the Trump Administration, which has been deporting countless numbers of immigrants who haven’t done anything besides live in the U.S. without papers. In January, Felix went in for his annual check-in with ICE and was detained. A stay of deportation was filed and submitted, then denied. Felix remains in Stewart Detention Center today.
Despite all of his contributions and efforts, Felix has never had a path to legal status in the United States, and now he faces permanent separation from his family.
Felix’s oldest daughter, Belsy, is an accomplished Dreamer and medical student in Chicago who plans to return to Georgia as a physician and work in underserved communities. As she said about her father’s case:
As a medical student, you have to focus on your studies, but having this news literally everywhere can affect you in such a personal manner. It takes a toll on your studies and concentration.