Willard, OH – In just five days, on July 18th, Jesus Lara Lopez, a husband and father of four U.S. citizen children, is set to be deported. Yesterday, Cleveland’s WKYC featured the family in a heartbreaking interview in which Jesus’ children expressed concern about how they would manage if Jesus is forced to leave Willard next week.
Eric (age 14) told WKYC: “I’m not ready to be the man of the house. I don’t know how to cook…I don’t know how to take care of them,” meaning his three younger siblings, who Jesus watches during day before going to his job on the night shift.
Edwin (age 11) is also fearful about a future without his dad stating, “If I don’t have my dad with me, I won’t get to do my dream.”
“These are things that kids shouldn’t have to worry about,” said Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice. “The Lara kids are on summer break from school. They should be riding their bikes and playing with friends, not worrying about how to manage if their dad has to leave.”
See the interview in its entirety here.
Jesus’ children have been actively involved in pleading for mercy in his case. They have met with reporters and congressional offices, traveling all the way to Washington, DC. Jesus’ eldest son, Eric, launched a petition to U.S. Rep. Gibbs that has garnered over 35,000 signatures to date. In the petition, 14 year-old Eric writes: “I don’t know what my future would be like without my dad. Please, Rep. Gibbs, do everything you can so my father can stay with us.” Eric emailed the names supporting his father to Rep.Gibbs yesterday, but has still received no response.
During a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives this morning, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) urged his colleagues and Secretary Kelly to spare the Lara family from being torn apart.
Their family is being broken up by their own government. We know the Secretary of Homeland Security has extraordinary powers to spare families from deportation, especially when doing so would be in our national interest.
“The thing is, Jesus has a work permit and an Order of Supervision from ICE. All they have to do is renew it, like they have for the last five years,” said Tramonte. “This tragedy could be avoided–and these kids’ futures could remain clear–if Rep. Gibbs, Senator Portman, and Department of Homeland Security make a simple decision. The solution is there, they just have to take it.”
See the speech in its entirety here.