ELYRIA – A telephone call from immigration Attorney David Leopold to an Elyria woman delivered the news Wednesday afternoon that federal officials had denied an application to allow her husband to stay in the country.
Pedro Hernandez-Ramirez is to return Thursday to Mexico, boarding a 1:10 p.m. Delta airline flight at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
The call left Seleste Wisniewski almost at a loss for words as she spoke moments later, still cradling her cell phone.
“Why? I don’t understand why,” she said. “My heart’s hurting. I’m in disbelief. There is no reason why this should be happening. Nothing good is going to come out of it.”
The 46-year-old husband and father had fought to stay in the United States since an officer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement came to his family’s West River Road South home last month to inform him of the deportation decision. He was at work at the time, leaving his wife to answer what she called a “blood curdling knock at the front door.”
“I’m going to be by myself, raising the kids,” she said in tears. “I’m not going to see him. He is not going to be coming home.”
Leopold filed the stay with the federal agency on the grounds that Hernandez-Ramirez was compliant with ICE requirements – he has a valid work permit, an approved Visa petition and pays federal and state taxes. He is also married to an American citizen, is the primary caregiver to his 28-year-old severely disabled stepson and is the father to 9-year-old Luis-Angel, an American citizen.
In published media reports, ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls said Hernandez-Ramirez was deported three times, and it is time for him to be deported again.
News of the denial to stay the deportation came the day after the newly installed Cleveland Catholic Diocese Bishop Nelson Perez went with the family to make a compassionate appeal for the husband and father to stay in the United States. The bishop offered his support and accompanied the family to a meeting at ICE’s Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations.
Wisniewski said the bishop did not speak to ICE officials, but they did take a letter from him.
The family is now preparing to spend their last night together.
“I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how I’m going to do it,” Wisniewski said.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or email@example.com.
This is a developing story. Look for more here soon, and in tomorrow’s Chronicle-Telegram.