Willard, OH – The following is a statement from David Leopold, former AILA president and attorney for Jesus Lara Lopez, ahead of Mr. Lara’s scheduled deportation tomorrow morning:
Mr. Jesus Lara has not received a response from the government regarding his latest request for a stay of deportation. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should not deport Jesus without meaningfully and fully responding to his stay request. It’s patently wrong and unfair to tear him from his family without fully explaining why.
In March, after ICE slapped an ankle bracelet on his leg as if he were a criminal, Jesus, who has dutifully complied with every request ICE has made of him over the years, asked that the government stay his deportation as they have every year for the past five years.
The stay had been granted in the past because Jesus’ children need him, because he’s paid his taxes for nearly 20 years, because he’s followed the law and worked hard to build a good loving home for his family and contributed to his community. None of that has changed. In fact, his equities have only gotten stronger over the years, as he purchased a home in Willard and became a leader in his church.
Within hours of requesting a stay months ago, ICE responded, all but telling Jesus ‘you’re undocumented, that’s why you’re a priority.’ Jesus asked ICE to reconsider its quick decision and to look at the harm his deportation would cause to his children and his community. ICE’s response was the same.
Finally, this past Thursday, with time running out, Jesus made another appeal to ICE, all but begging the agency to consider the voluminous evidence he’s provided them – including a petition signed by 35,000 people from around the country, started by his son Eric; letters of support from his Willard employers and neighbors; and statements from former ICE Acting Director John Sandweg and members of Congress.
ICE’s response? Stone silence.
It’s outrageous that ICE would put this father of four on a plane to Mexico and banish him from his family forever without fully responding to his stay request.