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Trump administration deporting immigrant father of two on MLK Day

A Detroit Free Press reporter documented the tragic images as ICE escorted him away from his family.

Immigration reform activists in New York City protested mass deportation
Immigration reform activists in New York City protested mass deportation on Thursday. CREDIT: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who advocated for social justice for all, in his famous 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail wrote that he was “cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states,” noting, “anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

So it seems especially tone-deaf that the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants and mass deportations meant a 39-year-old husband and father of two was separated from his family on Monday as the nation commemorated Martin Luther King Day.

According to Detroit Free Press reporter Niraj Warikoo, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents escorted Jorge Garcia, who was brought to the United States from Mexico as a 10-year-old but was to old to qualify under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, away from his wife and two children at the Detroit airport.

Supporters held signs urging the government to “Stop Separating Families.”

One supporter denounced the decision to take Garcia from his family on Martin Luther King Day. “It’s another example of the tone-deafness of this administration,” he told Warikoo.

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In a his Free Press story, Warikoo notes that Garcia’s wife said her husband had been trying to find a way to stay in the country legally since 2005, spending  $125,000 on legal bills. Supporters told Warikoo that Garcia paid his taxes, had no criminal record, and did not even get traffic tickets.

Under President Barack Obama, ICE was instructed to prioritize deportation of immigrants who posed a danger to national security or public safety and those who had entered the country recently. Under Trump, the agency now prioritizes a much wider swath of undocumented immigrants.

This story has been updated to include details about Garcia’s attempts to find a path to legal status.