The wife of a man who is facing deportation voted for President Donald Trump.
Roberto Beristain is the owner of Eddie's Steak Shed restaurant in St. Joseph County, Indiana. He came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico in 1998, but is now legally allowed to work in the country, according to Indiana Public Media.
When Roberto and his wife Helen went to Indianapolis in February for his yearly check-in with immigration officials, he was detained.
“They came outside, knocked on the window,” Helen said. “They said, ‘Are you Roberto’s wife?’ And, I said, ‘Yes.’ And they said, ‘Well, your husband is being detained because of a deportation 16 and a half years ago.’ And I said, ‘That’s a joke.’ And they said, ‘No, it’s true.’”
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The officials were referring to an incident in which Helen and Roberto went to Niagara Falls in 2000 and took the wrong route, accidentally crossing the border to Canada. Officers detained Robert then when they learned he was in the U.S. illegally.
“We got a lawyer and got him on a bail for $1,500,” Helen said. “And they told him, ‘You have to leave voluntarily in a month.’”
Roberto did not leave the country. He decided to stay because Helen was pregnant and suffering from high blood pressure.
A statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Public Affairs Officer Gail Montenegro states that "when [Roberto] failed to depart the United States by that time as required, his voluntary order reverted to a final order of removal."
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Helen said ICE allowed him to stay as long as he continued working and did not get into trouble.
The Trump administration is reportedly targeting people for deportation who have committed crimes, but also those who have not. Helen agrees with Trump's deportation plans, but did not think it would affect her family because Roberto is an upstanding business owner without a criminal record and is in the process of applying for a green card.
“We don’t want to have cartels here, you don’t want to have drugs in your high schools, you don’t want killers next to you,” Helen said. “You want to feel safe when you leave your house. I truly believe that. And, this is why I voted for Mr. Trump.”
“[Trump] did say the good people would not be deported, the good people would be checked,” she told Indiana Public Media.
Roberto's lawyer has filed an application to keep him in the U.S. for at least the next 12 months while trying to reopen his case for citizenship. There is no timeline as to when a decision will be made.
“He’s trying to hold up,” Helen said. “He said, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong, I haven’t committed a crime. The only crime I’ve done is wanting to be in the United States.’”
Roberto is being held at a detention center in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He was scheduled for deportation on March 24.