Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to deport an undocumented man from Mexico whose child is battling cancer.
On Thursday, ICE denied an extension to remain in the U.S. for 30-year-old Jesus Berrones, who lives in Arizona with his pregnant wife and five children. The immigration agency ordered Berrones to appear on Monday to be deported, according to his lawyer Garrett Wilkes.
Berrones has been living in the U.S. since he was 1½, when his parents brought him here in 1989, according to his wife, Sonia. In 2006, at age 19, Berrones was caught driving with a fake license and deported to Mexico. He then twice re-entered the country unlawfully to rejoin his family.
In 2016, ICE granted Berrones a stay of removal based on his son’s illness. Even when it has grounds for deportation, the agency can use its discretion to grant stays and has commonly done so in the case of individuals caring for a sick child.
Last year, under the new Trump administration, Berrones went to ICE to refile a stay, and officials told him it was not necessary because he was no longer a deportation priority, Wilkes said. But in January, Berrones got a notice from ICE that he would be deported. The lawyer filed another request for a stay, but it was recently denied.
Berrones’ 5-year-old son has been battling leukemia since 2016 and is undergoing chemotherapy. Berrones is the family’s sole breadwinner.
The return of sanctuary churches has significant historical resonance, and deserves a longer, and more informed, discussion than I can possibly give it right now.
But it does serve as an important reminder of the role that churches can play as sites of resistance and mobilization against repression—a story that should not be obscured by the fact that conservative Christians make up a core constituency of the Party of Trump.