PHOENIX (AP) — The family of a single father in the country illegally says he was deported on Friday after checking in with federal officials.
Yennifer Sanchez says her father, Juan Carlos Fomperosa Garcia, went to a check-in with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Phoenix on Thursday and was deported to Mexico the next day. The 23-year-old said she is left to care for her two younger siblings, including a boy who turned 17 the day Fomperosa Garcia was detained. All of Fomperosa Garcia's children are U.S. citizens.
ICE says Fomperosa Garcia has been deported three times, was convicted of a federal misdemeanor and had a deportation order.
"ICE will continue to focus on identifying and removing individuals with criminal convictions who have final orders of removal issued by the nation's immigration courts," spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O'Keefe said in a statement.
Immigrant advocates say his case is an example of hard-line policies by President Donald Trump targeting immigrants that tear families apart.
Sanchez says her father is a hard-working family man who cares for his three children on his own. The family says he arrived in the U.S. about 19 years ago.
Federal court records show he pleaded guilty in July 2015 to attempted illegal entry, a misdemeanor, after attempting to cross a border crossing in San Luis, Arizona, using somebody else's documents. He was sentenced to 30 days in prison.
"He's not one of those people that you hear about in the news," Sanchez said at a news conference. "He's not a racist, he's not a drug dealer and he's a not a murderer. My father is an honest, working man, a family man, that loves everyone he meets."
The case echoes one involving a Mexican woman who was deported last month amid protests from advocates who said she had previously been granted leniency under Obama administration policies.
Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, the mother of two U.S.-citizen children, was deported on Feb. 9 following a routine check-in with ICE. Her arrest prompted a raucous demonstration in downtown Phoenix as protesters blocked enforcement vans from leaving a U.S. immigration office. Seven people were arrested.
Garcia de Rayos was arrested as a result of then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio's first investigations into Phoenix-area businesses suspected of hiring immigrants who had used fraudulent IDs to get jobs. She was taken into custody six months after a workplace immigration raid at the waterpark where she was employed after investigators found discrepancies in her employment documents.
Garcia de Rayos pleaded guilty in March 2009 to a reduced charge of criminal impersonation and was sentenced to two years of probation. She was placed into deportation proceedings but given leniency under Obama administration guidelines that targeted immigrants who had committed dangerous crimes.
The children of Garcia de Rayos appeared with two Democratic Arizona congressmen this week at Trump's address to Congress.
Sanchez says she's not sure what will happen next but that she will continue to work and her siblings will stay in school.
"We have to see what our next step is. This was thrown at us, this was not something we planned for," she said.