Skip navigation

Undocumented immigrants with any type of criminal charges, such as Juan Carlos Fomperosa Garca, are now a priority for deportation under Trumps order

Juan Carlos Fomperosa Garca planned to celebrate his sons 17th birthday on Thursday. But first, he had to go in for a meeting around 9am with immigration officials in Phoenix for what he believed was to discuss his request for asylum.

He walked in. An hour later, they brought me a bag with his stuff and that was it, said Yennifer Sanchez, Fomperosa Garcas 23-year-old daughter.

The single father of three US citizens, who entered the country 20 years ago, was detained after meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, but never came out, his daughter said, adding that she thought he was safe because he had a work permit.

By Friday morning, Fomperosa Garca had called his children to let them know he had been deported to Mexico.

Now, Sanchez has become the sole guardian of her 17-year-old brother and 14-year-old sister. She said she plans to continue working as a caregiver and, with the moral support of her father, care for her siblings.

They are going to keep going to school, Sanchez said of her siblings. Im going to work. Were going to try to get through this.

To help the family financially, a local organization started fundraising money online. They raised more than $1,300 in less than three hours.

Ayensa Millan, a Phoenix-based immigration attorney who was contacted by Fomperosa Garcas family on Thursday, said she wasnt sure why Fomperosa Garca had the check-in with Ice officials. She said his asylum request had already been denied so there was no reason for them to interview him for an asylum claim.

It sounds to me like they literally just called him to remove him because of his prior removal order, Millan said.

In a statement, Ice confirmed Fomperosa Garca had been deported and that he had been previously repatriated to Mexico three times, including a formal deportation in 2014. Last year, he was again ordered removed by an immigration judge and in 2015 was convicted of a federal misdemeanor charge, according to Ice.

Ice will continue to focus on identifying and removing individuals with criminal convictions who have final orders of removal issued by the nations immigration courts, the statement said.

Fomperosa Garcas deportation comes a few weeks after the deportation of Guadalupe Garca de Rayos, a mother of two US citizens who lived in Arizona for more than two decades. She was also deported after she went in for a check-in with Ice.

But under a new executive order that Donald Trump signed on 25 January, Garca de Rayos became a priority for deportation. The order states that undocumented immigrants should be deported if they have been charged with any criminal offense. The president said the order was needed to ensure the public safety of the American people.

Millan said her advice to undocumented immigrants, especially those with no serious criminal records, is to not be fearful and to pay close attention to whats going on. She noted that most undocumented immigrants whove been deported recently had prior orders of removal or had already been found by an immigration judge to not have strong enough merits to be granted a stay in the US.

For undocumented immigrants whove become a priority for deportation under Trumps new executive order and have pending check-ins with Ice, Millan said she advises them to be prepared and get an immigration attorney. Another option is to seek sanctuary at a church.

I always leave it up my clients discretion and tell them these are the immigration consequences, Millan said. I tell them, If you are going to stay there and go for the long haul, by all means, do it. But its up to them because, when people go into sanctuary places, you never know how long theyre going to be there.

With tears in her eyes, Sanchez said on Friday that her father was nothing like the type of people Trump alludes to when he talks about deporting undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

When you image people breaking the law, you imagine a scary person, she said. You imagine someone who doesnt care for anyone else. When I hear those words being said about my dad and seeing what type of person he is, it hurts. Criminal would never be a way that I would describe my father.

Instead, Sanchez said she would use words like goofball and caring to describe her father, adding that he liked to watch movies, listen to zumba music, dance and make people laugh.

I know that if he was sitting right here right now, he would be making everyone crack up, she said.

  • This article was amended on 4 March 2017 to show Yennifer Sanchez is caring for her two siblings, not daughter and son as previously stated.

Read more: