PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – Louis Blanco crossed the Mexican border to the United States in 1996, hoping for a better life.
He crossed illegally but quickly found work, picking tobacco in North Carolina and blueberries in Florida.
Blanco now lives in Plant City and has a job working in construction but he will soon be deported, in part because of a traffic ticket he received in South Carolina.
A police officer noticed Blanco’s car windows were tinted too darkly. He then notified Federal ICE Agents and Blanco’s life changed forever.
Blanco never received a high school diploma, he has no special work skills and his attorney says because of this, even if he had applied for a work visa in 1996, he would have been denied and there would have been no legal path for him to enter this country.
After the traffic ticket, Blanco was able to receive a permit to work in the United States. He got an attorney who was able to keep him in the U.S. by applying for a humanitarian exemption to the deportation order.
“Because you have U.S. citizen children here and they are going to suffer extreme hardship if you were deported,” said Blanco’s Attorney Daniela Hogue, who works for the law firm of Maney and Gordon.
The exemption was granted under Obama Administration rules that changed when President Trump took office.
The law firm currently has more than two dozen cases similar to Blanco’s
“It’s really sad to see a non-criminal, somebody who has been here for almost 20 years, be sent over to be reported to ICE for something like that and it’s destroying an entire family,” said Hogue.
Blanco says he wants to stay in this country but will leave his wife and children behind because he believes they have an opportunity for a better life, even if it’s without him.
“I feel sad because right now they have closed my case and now they’re going to send me back and I feel bad. I feel sad leaving my family and I’m here asking the president to check my case,” said Blanco.
His children are legal U.S. Citizens. His wife is currently in this country under the DACA program, but that too may soon change.
Hogue says Blanco is the only person in the family earning an income and without him, the family will likely receive federal assistance.
“This is going to put a strain on the government resources because now they will probably have to apply for food stamps, TANIF, Temporary Assistance For Needy Families, because their children are U.S. citizens, they will qualify for that,” said Hogue.WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON:
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