Noe Parra Manrique, a Mexican immigrant and single father living undocumented in Maryland, is facing deportation because of a single offense: a missing screw on his license plate.
Think Progress reports that Manrique, 30, was driving to his job at a construction site in Ocean City, Maryland after dropping his five-year-old daughter Anita off at school when he got pulled over.
When he asked the officer for the reason, the cop responded, “You’re missing a screw in your license plate.”
The officer questioned Manrique about the contents of his truck—construciton supplies—and then took him to the station when he found he didn’t have a license. ICE officials took Manrique to a detention center and interrogated him for eight hours the following morning. He was released after 35 hours when the officials called his babysitter to verify that he was, in fact, a father.
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Since that incident, which occurred in February 2013, Manrique has appeared twice before an immigration judge, petitioning for prosecutorial discretion to stay in the country since he has an American-born child. He has no criminal record.
Manrique is scared to go back to the drug cartels of Mexico, a country he left 14 years ago. But he doesn’t want to be separated from his daughter, either.
“To be completely honest, it’s very difficult. I want her to stay with me and come to Mexico with me, but she’s a U.S. citizen and deserves to have an American education,” Manrique told Think Progress through a translator. “I’m thinking of whether she should stay with one of my relatives. It’s a very sensitive matter to me because I haven’t come to a conclusion.”
Manrique's final court date has been postponed until March, when his future will be decided.