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Jorge García, 39, of Lincoln Park, hugs his wife and two children before being escorted by ICE agents to be deported to Mexico, on January 15, 2018, at the Metro Airport of Detroit.
Erik Shelley

DETROIT – His arms wrapped around his wife and two teenage sons, Jorge Garcia's eyes filled up On Monday, when looked at them one more time from the entrance to the security gate of the airport.

His wife, Cindy Garcia, screamed as her daughter, Soleil, 15, sobbed on Garcia's shoulder as they embraced, two United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were watching them closely.

After living 30 years in the United States, Jorge Garcia, a 39-year-old landscaper from Lincoln Park, Michigan, was deported at Martin Luther King. The vacations of Jr. to Mexico, a move that according to his supporters is another example of immigrants unjustly attacked under the Trump administration.

An undocumented relative brought Jorge García to the United States when he was 10 years old. Today he has a wife and two children, all American citizens.

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Jorge García had been facing an expulsion order from the immigration courts since 2009, but under the previous administration, he had been granted suspensions. Due to the offensive of the Trump administration against immigration, in November Jorge García received the order to return to Mexico.

His followers say he has no criminal record, not even a traffic ticket, and pays taxes every year.

"It is another example of the tone of the deafness of this administration … If Jorge is not sure, nobody is safe."

Erik Shelley, immigrant rights group of Michigan United

However Jorge Garcia had to be removed, ICE agents said. On Monday morning, accompanied by government agents, Jorge Garcia went through security at the Metropolitan Airport in Detroit while supporters around him showed signs that said: "Stop separating families."

"We love you, Jorge," Mayra Valle de Detroit said as she hugged her wife and children. "They're a good family, they're workers … This is very sad, it's outrageous, we never expected this to happen."

Jorge García is too old to qualify for federal Deferred Action. for the Childhood Arrivals program, which allows the children of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before age 16 and who were born after June 15, 1981, to work and study legally here.

Jorge Garcia said he had asked ICE officials if they could wait until the new DACA legislation is approved, which could extend the age range for immigrants to qualify. But they refused and said they had to leave before January 15.

"How is this done on the day of Martin Luther King Jr.?" said Erik Shelley, a Michigan United leader who defends immigrant rights and other issues. "It's another example of the dull tone of this administration … If Jorge is not safe, nobody is safe."

Shelley said he is concerned that minority immigrants are increasingly targeted, citing comments Trump made about them. African and Hispanic immigrants. Other immigrant advocates and a United Auto Workers official joined him at the airport.

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An ICE spokesperson told Free Press on Monday that he could not comment immediately because it was a federal holiday and the ICE offices were closed.

"I feel a little sad," Jorge Garcia said Sunday night, hands clasped and pressed against his forehead, worried. "I have to leave my family behind, knowing that they will probably have difficulties adapting, not being there for them for who knows for how long, it's just difficult."

Supporters of Jorge Garcia hold posters on January 15, 2018 at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport saying "Stop separating families." (Photo: Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press)

Especially painful will be the separation of their children, Soleil and Jorge Garcia Jr., 12. The Garcia said that their 12-year-old son has been taking the news with force , without expressing himself, which is worrying for his parents.

"I'm going to be sad because I will not be able to be with them," said Jorge Garcia at a friend's table in southwest Detroit who organized a farewell party for him. … It will be difficult for me to adapt too. "

Jorge Garcia can be banned from entering the US For at least 10 years, said Cindy Garcia, Diego Bonesatti, director of legal services at Michigan United, and others have been fighting for Jorge Garcia for years and will now try to get him back.

Jorge García's wife is a US citizen, but being married to a US citizen does not automatically qualify immigrants for legal residence.

Immigrant Defenders say that deporting people like Jorge Garcia is destroying families and communities that have lost population, and immigrants like Jorge García are an asset that stabilizes and grows the Detroit metro.

"It's like tearing out a main artery, like, their lifeline, taking it away from them and then simply placing it somewhere else, "said family friend Norma Garza Jones, 44, of Detroit." Those who stay are left to just try and compensate for that artery that is the main blood vessel, you know, that is is removed from them. "

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"It is heartbreaking," Bonesatti said. "If you are going to choose someone who is ideal," he would be him.

"He came at 10 years old", said the director of legal services at Michigan United. "He's never been in trouble, period. He has never received a traffic ticket. "

In addition, Mexico is a foreign place for him, and he is worried about finding work and creating a new life.

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"This is your home," Bonesatti said. "This is the place he knows."

The administration did not even stop deportations on a national holiday, said Adonis Flores, an immigrant rights leader in Michigan. United, calling it shameful

Cindy Garcia, a retired Dearborn, Mich., A truck plant worker, worries about supporting her family.

"It's a nightmare to come alive," she said. There is no other way than to face it and accept what is thrown at you because there is nothing else you can do. "

Follow Niraj Warikoo on Twitter: @nwarikoo

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