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Deporting Love: A Married Couple’s Journey to Stay in the United States

On November 28, 2005, Enrique Gonzalez walked across the border to pursue a safe and prosperous life in the U.S. Afraid of gang recruitment in El Salvador and seeking to escape to a safe place with opportunities to work to help himself and his family, after two days of processing and detention, he was taken (by immigration officials) to a Texas bus station where he was left to find his way in what would become his new home, the United States of America. Thirteen years later, with a U.S. Immigration approved marriage to a citizen, Enrique is being deported.

In the January 2017 Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, the Trump administration laid out a much wider dragnet authorizing and empowering ICE in the deportation of undocumented.  Unlike the discretion of the Obama Administration, as evidenced in the 2011 Memo, which exercised a great deal of flexibility the Trump Administration's laser-sharp focus is on the numbers! Every undocumented …


By Harlon J. Wilson
U.S. Citizen Spouse
Fighting Deportation

You didn't see the look in her eyes as the tears welled up. I did! 

There I stood, a white guy, the U.S. Citizen spouse of a beautiful Latino from El Salvador facing deportation. Just to be near someone facing the same fear as me, I rushed to the yard sale to give her a hug. There she stood, Mrs. Ericka Fierro, the mom, the wife, the longtime U.S. resident who was selling everything the family-owned in prep for her journey back to Mexico. 

Her husband, the father of the playful children riding their bikes down the nearby sidewalk, already removed by the deportation force of hate, was in hiding somewhere in Mexico. Recently deported himself, he feared for his life as most returnees to Central American countries face grave dangers upon their return. 

As Ericka was building up the courage to tell her little boy she must also sell his bicycle, I could feel her deep pain and anguish. Having just been through our first round of selling our own personal possessions, I knew too well how excruciating it could be to let go. 

I saw myself standing in a moment of history as I looked into the mother's eyes as she sadly traced the path of her son as he pedaled back and forth. The tears on the cusp of her eyelids, I could hardly bear the pain of what I was seeing. 

I just had to know, and so I asked... "How does ICE treat you?" The floodgates opened as she replied, "It is horrible - truly horrible!" She explained as she went on to describe the cruelty by which she had been treated - " if she were a common criminal." Having graduated from the local high school, worked, raised a family, and dedicated to her church community for nearly 30 years, I could feel her anguish at her pending departure. Forced to leave the only life and culture she, her children, and her husband have known for decades, and with little familiarity of where they would next find a home, the mother was deeply saddened as our conversation ended with a tight embrace. 

And so we fight! 
For those who have no voice! 
We fight! 
For freedom and equality,
To rise above the oppressor's hate,
We fight!

You haven't read the emails I'm now receiving almost daily. I read them all, clinging to every word as my heart breaks with emotion for the tragic injustices occurring every day, in every neighborhood.

A social worker at a local charter school urgently reached out to me after our "What About Us, Peaceful Resistance Rally for Immigration Reform." With passionate overtures, she urged we must meet. We sit down in a local coffee shop and almost immediately as her words begin to convey the stories of the families and children of her school impacted by the deportation force that is sweeping the nation, our tears began to flow. 

One after one, I drink in the stories of the children whose parents have been taken. She tells of a father who had been deported and a mother who moved her children into an abandoned home because she could no longer afford the rent and felt her only recourse was to hide. Once patrons of a neighborhood food pantry provided by the school, the mom stopped asking for food for fear that asking for help most assuredly would result in her own deportation. My new friend the social worker described the dramatic reduction of Hispanic families partaking of the support. Now barely present today, they too are in hiding. 

School has started back today as I received a follow-up message, "A child in a third-grade class told one of our ENL teachers today that her dad was being deported on her birthday. And that she might be sad and bad in class that day because she was going to miss him." She continued, "That is our fifth family member since January." She described a new role she has taken in which she is working to educate Latino families for deportation preparedness. As in the case of a natural disaster, she's helping families to proactively plan for where the children will go if the parents are inhumanely deported.

And so we fight!
For the families who are in hiding!
We fight!
For freedom and equality!
And, so we fight!
To rise above the oppressor's hate!
We have no choice but to fight!

For the children returning to school today terrified of whether they may return home to a mother or father who has been taken,
We must fight!

For the innocent who has paid into income tax coffers (some for decades) on an empty promise from a nation that suggested the demonstration of  "good moral character" would be rewarded - only to later be criminalized, deported, and robbed of the benefits they paid into...we must fight the United States oppressor.

For U.S. citizen husbands and wives like me who believed immigration approved marriages were the key to freedom, love, happiness, and equality in America... We fight the lies that we've been told, and the empty promises yet to be fulfilled for constitutional rights that are non-existent.

Malitia-style enforcement of family separations is inhumane and unnecessary. The innocent Latin moms, dads, husbands, wives, and children are completely the opposite of hardened criminals. And yet, they're shackled and cuffed, forced from home and workplace, and rounded up as if they have committed atrocious crimes. Why must ICE forcefully separate, incarcerate, and repudiate in the court of public opinion, the innocent people once allowed in the nation by the very government now under xenophobic control?

And so we fight!
For the children returning to school with fear in their hearts,
We Fight!
For freedom and equality with the power to break down walls (not build them),
We Fight!
To rise above the oppressor's hate!
We have no choice but to fight!

This is our rally call... 
This is but the beginning... 
Now is the time to fight for those who can't rise up for themselves.

For humanity! For equality! Will you join us in our fight? 

YES          |          NO