ELYRIA — Family and friends are coming together to support an Elyria woman who is struggling in the wake of her husband’s deportation more than a month ago.
On Sept. 28, Seleste Wisniewski’s husband, Pedro Hernandez-Ramirez, boarded a plane to Mexico after federal officials ordered him to leave the country. Without her husband, Wisniewski said, she is struggling to care for her children alone, including 10-year-old Luis and
28-year-old Juan, who has special needs and is wheelchair-bound.
“This last month without Pedro has been one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do in my life — to run everything alone without my right-hand man,” she said. “I have gotten very depressed. I’m in a lot of pain in my back from taking care of Juan all alone. I now know how much of a role Pedro had in the running of the household because he made it seem so easy. I just don’t know how he got it all together. I just realized all these years how hard of a worker and good man my husband is.”
Supporters of the family have established a GoFundMe account to help Wisniewski with expenses. So far, contributions have garnered $490 of a $25,000 goal.
Grace Warner, 70, a friend of the family, said the fund is going slow.
“But every dollar is a dollar she doesn’t have today,” she said.
Wisniewski said she and her husband both worked two jobs before he left the country and the loss of his income is overwhelming. She fears she will lose the home she owns on West River Road South.
The money will go toward attorney fees the family incurred as they fought to stay Hernandez-Ramirez’s deportation and household expenses related to the care of Luis and Juan.
“I pray every night that God gives me the strength to make it through one more day,” she said.
The circumstances of Hernandez-Ramirez’s case led to a personal appeal from Cleveland Catholic Diocese Bishop Nelson Perez, who implored federal immigration officials to keep the family together.
Hernandez-Ramirez had a valid work permit, driver’s license, approved I-130 Visa application and paid state and federal taxes — factors that swayed Perez to get involved after receiving a request from America’s Voice, an immigration advocacy group. It did not work and he was deported two days later.
Hernandez-Ramirez had been in the United States for more than 15 years after arriving in 2001 when he was deported in September. He already had been deported in the past and had returned illegally to the United States.
Immigration attorney David Leopold said he will have to wait up to 20 years to return to this country.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.