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Photos: Ohio Community Leaders Support Families Facing Imminent Deportation

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President Obama decision to delay immigration policy reforms until after the November mid-term elections will result in the deportation of an estimated 70,000 people — including many with U.S. citizen members. These people simply cannot wait for an election to take place; they need action from the Obama Administration today.

On Sunday, September 21st, members of Cleveland’s Polish and Mexican communities gathered at St. Casimir’s Church this to hold a mass and prayer in support of Pedro Hernandez-Ramirez and his U.S. citizen wife, Seleste Wisniewski-Hernandez.  After being granted a stay of deportation last year, Pedro’s renewal was callously denied by local ICE officials and he’s been told to pack his bags.  Pedro is the primary caregiver of his stepson Juan, a twenty-five year-old man with severe cerebral palsy.  This is the second time that the congregation at St. Casimir’s Church—many of whom are immigrants from Poland—has rallied to help a Mexican immigrant facing deportation.

Then on Tuesday, September 23rd at 11am, leaders with the local grassroots group HOLA as well as Tim Burga, President of the Ohio AFL-CIO, Baldemar Velasquez, President of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, and other faith leaders and elected officials will rally at the Free Stamp in Downtown Cleveland—just outside the local ICE office—to hear testimonies from immigrants and citizens whose loved ones are facing deportation.

Here are photos from Sunday’s event:

OH_Families_01Members of Cleveland’s Polish and Mexican communities gathered at St. Casimir’s Church this to hold a mass and prayer in support of Pedro Hernandez-Ramirez.OH_Families_02
OH_Families_04Seleste (top-left) being interviewed by the WKSU reporter Pedro (top-right) and Juan (center) prepare for the rally.OH_Families_05Pedro’s son holding a sign that says, “Keep My Daddy Here!”
OH_Families_06Ricardo Ramos and his family. Ricardo works two jobs, pays taxes, and qualifies for “prosecutorial discretion” under a 2011 memo from former ICE Director John Morton. He faced deportion earlier this year.
OH_Families_07Luis Nicasio and his son. Luis is a mariachi singer who previously faced deportation.

Fr. Eric Orzech preparing communion. He blessed each member of the Wisniewski-Hernandez family, and told them to believe in miracles: “We’re two for two,” he said, recalling two previous deportations that were stopped after pilgrimages there.

After the regular service, which included prayers for Pedro, there was a trilingual (English, Polish, and Spanish) rosary said for the family.