Jesus Lara Lopez, a father of four American citizens, has been deported back to Mexico despite not having a criminal record, according to Cleveland.com. Lara, who is 37, first came to the attention of immigration authorities after a police stop in 2008.
ABC News reports that Lara has worked consistently since arriving in the U.S., taking any job to make sure his family was supported. He has never been on food stamps, and he has always paid his taxes. Even after a 2011 order for removal, Lara Lopez was allowed to live and work in the U.S. ABC News reports that Lara Lopez’ most recent job was working the night shift at a Pepperidge Farm factory, where he packaged cookies and crackers. It was also confirmed that he had a valid work permit before starting the job in October 2016.
“These are the darkest times in our nation,” David Leopold, Lara Lopez’ attorney, told the press at the airport, according to Cleveland.com. “I contacted the governor and Mike DeWine, but it did no good. This good man is being deported and I have to ask how this makes our country any safer.”
Lara Lopez found out he was being removed after a check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in March. His deportation is an example of the Trump administration’s crackdown on “illegal immigration,” according to ABC News. Back in June, the former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and former acting general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security John Sandweg released a statement via America’s Voice criticizing ICE’s decision to deport Lara Lopez.
“Cases like this are an incredible waste of ICE resources that only make it harder for the agency to identify and remove dangerous criminals. Our limited enforcement resources should be focused first on finding criminals and public safety threats not arresting and deporting non-criminals, like Jesus Lara Lopez, who has lived here for years, dutifully paid his taxes, and is the primary caregiver to four U.S. citizen children,” reads Sandweg’s statement on America’s Voice. “The administration’s focus on the low hanging fruit of the enforcement system only allows the bad guys to remain at large, weakening our public safety.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe page asking for help with bills while Lara Lopez looks for a new job in Mexico. If you would like to help the Lara Lopez family, you can visit their GoFundMe page here.
You can watch Jesus Lara Lopez telling his kids goodbye below.
READ: An Undocumented Mother Of 3 Is Facing Deportation Back To Mexico For A Misdemeanor Committed 7 Years Ago