Albany Park Father Appeals for Discretion in his January 31st Deportation Order Stemming from Mistaken Immigration Raid at His Apartment Building
Since the fall, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has conducted at least four raids at the same Albany Park apartment building according to its tenants.
On December 6th, 2013 immigration agents wearing vests marked “police” entered the apartment complex under the pretext of searching for a specific person but they instead approached multiple apartments, including that of Anibal Elogio Fuentes Aguilar, a Guatemalan immigrant and day laborer who has lived in Chicago more than 10 years and has a United States citizen son. Believing the agents were Chicago Police officers because of the insignia on their clothing, Anibal greeted them only to be detained and taken from his family. ICE is now seeking to deport him, based solely on a time he was apprehended by Border Patrol in 2009 after he had returned to Guatemala to attend his mother’s funeral.
On January 21st, 2014 at 10:30 AM, Mr. Fuentes, his neighbors and their supporters held a press conference outside of the ICE field office at 101 W. Congress where Mr. Fuentes announced that he will be submitting a request that ICE stop his deportation.
“When ICE came they were wearing police vests, I thought they were the police,” explained Fuentes. “When I tried to help and answer their questions they took me away. My son was crying and I didn’t know if I would see him again.” Mr. Fuentes came to Chicago more than 10 years ago when he was 16 years old. He has no surviving family in Guatemala and fears returning. Before passing away, his father was kidnapped and ransomed three times.
“This is the fourth time ICE has raided the same building this year. They are harassing our community, often dressed as police. Previous raids in Albany Park this year resulted in people deported and families torn apart but we won’t let that happen to Anibal,” said Eric Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Latino Union. He expressed concern that ICE agents conducting raids are wearing vests with police markings. “If ICE looks like the police, how do Chicagoans know who to trust? One has to ask if the Chicago police even knew this was happening.”
“If Congress had passed reform or if the President had halted deportations, Anibal wouldn’t be in this situation. He shouldn’t be punished for Washington’s inaction,” stated Ireri Unzueta of Organized Communities Against Deportations. She expressed hope that ICE would grant Mr. Fuentes the relief he deserves. “Anibal’s decision to attend his own mother’s funeral five years ago shouldn’t be cause to take him away from his family now. He is a Chicagoan as much as anyone else. This city is his home. It’s where he’s raising his family. We hope ICE looks at all the circumstances of his case.”