Supporters Hold Vigil to Keep Undocumented Immigrant in the U.S.

By: David Coy Email
By: David Coy Email

HARRISONBURG -- One undocumented immigrant faces deportation and many people in the Valley are fighting to keep him in the United States.

Cesar Rios said it all started a year ago. Rios said he was told by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) that he was going to be deported last year, but his case was appealed and he was allowed to stay in Harrisonburg.

This week he was told that he has to report to his deportation officer on Monday.

Thursday evening more than 20 people gathered in Court Square to support Rios. He said he will be deported in two weeks unless something is done.

"I feel really bad about this. Because I have seen other cases of other people that have done bad things and they can stay and I haven't done anything," said Rios, through a translator.

Rios said he doesn't have a criminal record and is a low-priority undocumented immigrant. Last month he was told to wear an ankle bracelet.

"They didn't tell me any reason, they just put it on. It was another office, maybe they were working for I.C.E. I don't know," said Rios.

Supporters are trying almost everything to make sure they are heard. They said if they make calls to I.C.E., they may let Rios stay.

"The local ICE will act in accord with what the overall policy is supposed to be," said supporter Michael Snell-Feikema.

Supporters said the deportation policy is not supposed to target low-priority undocumented immigrants. Rios said he hopes he can stay in America because his job pays for his mother's medical bills back in Mexico.

"If the ICE people are watching, I just want to say, I do want to stay. There is a lot of crime in Mexico right now and I am really afraid of going back," said Rios.

Supporters of Rios are supposed to gather outside of the Harrisonburg regional office of I.C.E. Friday and Monday at 10 a.m.

WHSV reached out to I.C.E. and was transferred to a Louisiana Representative. The representative said I.C.E. should be able to respond by Friday morning.

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