Senior Oscar Garcia is known by many of his friends and colleagues as a hard worker and a determined student. What they might not know is that his father is faced with the threat of deportation. Oscar was stunned when he first found out that the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was investigating his father.
“For a long time, we were ok with his TPS [temporary protected status], but it wasn’t until the new administration that we started worrying,” Garcia said.
Oscar is extremely worried about what his father’s deportation could mean for his family and his education.
“We would have to worry about having to go to some public school near my house — which is actually an incredibly dangerous area — having to worry about money, having my sister and mom work, being at risk of homelessness, losing the car,” Garcia said.
He also explained that it’s not just the physical and economic problems that could really hurt his family, but also the state of mind and stress that comes with the investigation process.
The amount of pressure put on Oscar’s family is quite large, and the family was not equipped to handle such a sudden change in their lives, but it has gotten easier for Oscar to talk about it. In fact, he spoke about it at the Kino Border Initiative event in Clougherty Chapel on October 10th.
He said, “Although it was difficult for me to talk about, the first person I told was Dr. Rodriguez. My family isn’t prideful, but we also don’t like asking for help. Retelling the story to students was difficult but necessary.”
What has partially made the process easier for the Garcia family is the fact that they are not alone in their struggle.
There are many differences between Oscar’s family and other families that are going through the same process. For example, Oscar’s father has not been forcefully removed from the country, much to the relief of Oscar; nevertheless, some of the same reasons for coming to America correspond in many different immigration cases.
Garcia said, “I see a lot of similarities in their process. Other families came here for the same reasons, whether it’s financial support to send back to their families, or they bring their whole families here to make a living.”
A major source of frustration for the Garcia family is the constantly changing policies and rules.
“There is always some new policy that always slows things down. At some point or another, you’re going to be slowed down, and it’s either we’re ok with one thing, but not with another,” Garcia said.
For a long time, what protected Oscar’s father was his worker’s permit.
Oscar said, “His permit protected him for a bit, more than we expected, so then that was taken away because it expired, and then these new sets of rules come up where you have to move onto the next big thing.”
Despite all of the hardships that Oscar’s family has had to face, they still have hope, especially because of their new attorney. Despite all these hardships, Oscar’s dad remains his biggest role model.
Oscar said “I definitely look up to him. His work ethic, he has never stopped, ever since he was younger. My father is definitely American; he is a hard worker that never quits, no matter what.”