THE STORY: BELSY’S DAD FELIX

Belsy Garcia Manrique is studying to become a doctor at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine. She wants to return to her hometown in Georgia where she can put her medical skills to use with underserved populations. But right now she is more worried about her father, Felix Garcia, who is sitting in a federal detention center awaiting deportation.

Belsy and her father Felix Garcia

Felix came to the U.S. in 1995 to seek asylum. He went before a judge without a lawyer or interpreter, and — without a way to make his case — was ordered deported. In 2009, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) showed up at the carpet factory where Felix worked and took down information on all the employees. Over the next two years, Felix cooperated with the ICE investigation against his employer and, because he was not deemed a priority for deportation under the Obama Administration, Felix was allowed to stay with his family as long as he continued to check in with ICE on an annual basis. Under the current Administration, immigration enforcement priorities have been broadened to indiscriminately detain anyone who lacks legal status, including people like Felix. Today, Felix is awaiting deportation in Stewart Detention Center in rural Georgia. He will not only leave behind Belsy but two other daughters as well.

Speaking about her father, Belsy said this: “In a little over a year, I hope to be in possession of my medical degree – a byproduct of my father’s optimism, drive, and unconditional support. My father has always led by example. He is a father who moved to the United States in search of opportunities that his girls could be a part of. A father who taught himself English with a Spanish-to-English dictionary he bought at a hand-me-down store, then obtained his GED followed by an accounting diploma, all with the aspiration of being an example to his three little girls.”

The Ignatian Solidarity Network has consistently called for humane migration policies that respect the inherent dignity of all people, keep families together, and support undocumented young people like Belsy. As Pope Francis said, “we are all immigrants on the journey of life.”

Daughters need their father. Join the Ignatian network in calling for Felix’s deportation to be suspended by signing on to the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s letter to Mr. Sean Gallagher, Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Atlanta Field Office.

THE LETTER

Mr. Sean Gallagher
Director
Atlanta Field Office
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
180 Ted Turner Dr. SW Suite 522
Atlanta, GA, 30303

Dear Director Gallagher:

I am writing today to request you suspend the deportation of Mr. Felix Garcia who is currently being held at the Stewart Detention Center. Mr. Garcia, who has no criminal record, was detained with no explanation during a regular annual check-in, following almost a decade of cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Mr. Garcia is a longtime resident of Georgia and the father of three daughters. Not only has Mr. Garcia contributed to his community as an accountant for more than twenty years he is also raising children who will have a positive impact on our country for years to come.

We are particularly aware of the situation of his daughter Belsy Garcia who is currently enrolled at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine, studying to become a medical doctor. Belsy, who earned her bachelor’s degree at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, plans to return to Georgia as a physician and work in medically underserved communities.

Mr. Garcia’s daughters need him. I implore you to suspend his deportation and order his immediate release.

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME & ADDRESS]

CC: Kirstjen M. Nielsen
Secretary, Department of Homeland Security

Thomas D. Homan
Acting Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

SIGN THE LETTER

Felix Garcia Deportation Letter



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