This morning I met an amazing family who is going through a senseless tragedy at the hands of our government. They live on a sunny street in Elyria, Ohio, but their home is dark inside because Pedro Hernandez-Ramirez is not there. Instead of being home or working, their husband and father is locked up at the Geauga County Jail awaiting deportation. He’s been told it could happen as early as tomorrow morning.
When the Obama Administration announced a change in deportation policies in 2011, the policies were supposed to change in practice, not just on paper. But Pedro was still deported to Mexico, right around the time the Senate was voting to put hard-working, decent people like him on a path to citizenship this year. He came back to the U.S. because his family—wife Seleste, five year-old son, and three older step-children—need him. Pedro and Seleste’s oldest son, Juan, has severe cerebral palsy and is completely reliant upon others to take care of his most basic needs. Pedro is the one who moves him from the bed to the wheelchair and bathes him. He is the only one in the house who can lift him.
Pedro has been there for emotional, physical, and financial support for all four of his children and his wife for the last 10 years, until he wasn’t, because the government felt he should be a priority for deportation. Pedro’s wife and four children are all U.S. citizens.
The home has family photos covering almost every surface of the walls. When Seleste says they operate like a team to take care of the household and each other, she means it. When Juan cries out, they each know what he’s saying and one or the other moves to take care of him. It is obvious that they love each other and they “get” each other. It is also obvious that they are trying to stay strong but fear the worst.
Pedro’s five year-old son is still in shock from the experience watching his father be arrested by the Border Patrol as they were driving down their sunny street. Stephanie, one of Pedro’s stepdaughters, said that she used to bristle at his protectiveness and structure but now she really misses it. The whole family is doing everything they can think of to bring Pedro home, and won’t stop until they hear his tell-tale whistle as he enters the front door.
Tune in to Al Rojo Vivo on Telemundo tonight to hear from Seleste, Stephanie, and David Leopold about the case (check local listings for time).
And watch videos from Seleste (Pedro’s wife) and Stephanie (Pedro’s 16-year-old daughter) below: