Two weeks ago, two of the children of Jacobo Gabriel participated in a trip sponsored by our organization "Abuelos y Nietos Juntos". Fourteen US born American citizen children visited their grandparents and other family members in Guatemala. One young man saw his mother for the first time in 4 years, and two children met older siblings that had been left in Guatemala when their parents immigrated, with the hope that the family would be reunited soon. It has been over 12 years now that those families have been separated because of our broken immigration system. Our trip with the children included a visit with the President and First Lady of Guatemala, and a visit with representatives of the Episcopal Conference and CRS in Guatemala, along with other organizations working to ease the struggles of those migrating to and from Guatemala. Abuelos y Nietos Juntos stands in solidarity with these groups and with the USCCB and other US organizations that promote immigration reform that will STOP the separation of families, uphold the dignity of every human person, and recognize the contributions of our immmigrants.
On Tuesday, July 16th, just four days after his children returned from their visit to Guatemala, Jacobo Gabriel was stopped for a minor traffic violation. He does have a valid MN driver's license and was not issued a ticket for the stop, however he was asked to report to the Homeland Security Office in Sioux Falls, SD the next day. Wishing to cooperate, Jacobo did report the next day, and at that time was detained for deportation based on a deportation order issued 11 years ago. Like many of our immigrants, Jacobo did not comply with the deportation order at the time because he would have left behind his small son and his wife, who was at the time expecting their second child.
Jacobo has lived and worked here in the US for 20 years, paying taxes and has no criminal record. He is a wonderful husband and father, and he and his wife are very faith-filled members of their parish community at St. Mary's Church in Worthington, participating and taking a leadership role. They have worked hard and are raising a wonderful family - the type of family that any of us would want to have as neighbors and friends. Their only desire is to be able to stay here in the US, to continue to work and contribute so that they can offer their children a decent education and enough to support their needs. These are basic needs that would not be available to them in Guatemala. Please help us raise our voices to the Office of Homeland Security and to our congressional representatives to allow Jacobo to stay in the US. Our lawmakers are currently discussing immigration reform laws that could help Jacobo and his family in the future, but his future in the US is too short. We must begin to stop the deportation of good people who are here for the same reasons our ancestors came. We ask that you please forward this petition to others who will advocate for the release of Jacobo.