Jesus Peraza, a Baltimore resident of 10 years who was infamously arrested by federal immigration agents while dropping off his son at school in March, is headed back to Honduras.
WYPR and WBAL-TV reported Tuesday that immigration officials denied Peraza’s request for a stay on his deportation order. The deputy director of Baltimore’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement office wrote in a brief letter signed Monday that he “did not find a compelling reason” to grant Peraza’s last-ditch attempt to remain in the country.
— Dominique Bonessi (@dbonessi) June 6, 2017
Immigrants are deported from the United States on a daily basis – notably, far more of them in the last few months – but Peraza’s is a case that tugged on the heartstrings of immigrant sympathizers. After fleeing from Honduras, a nation with the world’s highest murder rate, Peraza settled in Baltimore and put down here. He got a job and built a family, keeping a clean criminal record in the process, according to his lawyer.
On March 9, Peraza was driving away from Hampstead Hill Academy in Southeast Baltimore, where he’d just dropped off his son, when ICE agents stopped and arrested him. His arrest came amid a massive push by the Trump administration to deport thousands more immigrants from the country through raids on cities. Peraza remained in their custody for the last three months.
Public outrage about ICE arresting Peraza, an employed, law-abiding resident and family man, fueled protests in nearby Highlandtown and outside the ICE office downtown. It also pushed Baltimore council members to adopt a resolution calling on ICE to back off of deporting everyday people and focus on criminals instead.
Peraza’s lawyer, Jared Jaskot, told WYPR his client’s entire family will likely need to uproot from Baltimore with their father gone. They’re eyeing Guatemala, his wife’s home country. She’s nine months pregnant, due to deliver next week.
Despite its outcome, Peraza’s case has inspired more people in Baltimore to convene and consider how they can help Baltimore’s threatened immigrant population. The University of Maryland School of Law hosted a day of seminars for a wide range of professionals showing how they can assist undocumented immigrants, and the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation recently held a bystander training session for when ICE comes knocking on their immigrant neighbor’s door.
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