Immigration advocates are fighting against the deportation of Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo, an undocumented immigrant who has been living, working, and supporting his family in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for 15 years.
MLive reports that Sanchez-Ronquillo was first targeted by the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in 2009, when he got into a verbal argument with immigration authorities. ICE plans to deport him on Feb. 10.
Several local organizations are fighting the deportation order, including the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights.
“He’s an example of a man who’s been here minding his own business, working very hard, supporting his family, with no criminal history,” said WICIR founder Laura Sanders. “We find it very disruptive that they would be deporting him at this point.”
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The schools that Sanchez-Ronquillo’s children attend, the local church, and other community members and organizations are standing behind the married father of two.
“The school has rallied around him and supported him, the local PTO at Bach is supporting them, the church [St. Mary’s in Ann Arbor] is supporting them; through the university connections we have, some students are getting involved, local community groups, public officials,” said WICIR volunteer and immigrant rights youth organizer Martha Valadez.
Immigrant advocacy group Michigan United filed a petition for a one-year stay of deportation for Sanchez-Ronquillo. Lawyer Raquel Andersen says that the community outreach has helped spur ICE to reopen his case.
“I think we were heading in that direction but it got them to see that there are a lot of people really interested and watching this case. I’m actually surprised at how responsive they’ve been,” Anderson said of the many phone calls and petitions filed on Sanchez-Ronquillo’s behalf.
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Sanchez-Ronquillo’s supporters are using all resources available to gain national attention and hopefully change the fate of the hardworking father.
“Across the nation people have used these organizing strategies to build recognition for a case nationally,” Valadez said. “It’s not just the calls, it’s a very holistic kind of approach to stopping a deportation. Making calls, activating social media, emailing, connecting with the local press and the national press and building alliances with national organizations are all a part of the plan.”