Supporters of Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo rallied at Ann Arbor's Bach Elementary School today to protest his deportation. Sanchez-Ronquillo has been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement since April 19. He is married with two children in Ann Arbor schools, and is the primary breadwinner for the family.
Sanchez-Ronquillo has been fighting to remain in the U.S. since a 2012 court order for his removal. He was detained during what his family thought was a routine immigration check-in.
Deportations were at an all-time high under President Obama, but have declined recently as ICE shifted focus to people with criminal backgrounds. Sanchez-Ranquillo has no criminal background, signaling that the focus may have shifted back again to include those without a criminal record.
"We're waiting on ICE in Detroit to make a decision, hopefully in our favor, for a stay of removal. We're in a holding pattern. What we're doing is hoping to influence the decision-makers," says Sanchez family friend Leticia Valdez.
Speaking through an interpreter, Sanchez-Ranquillo's wife, Guisela Anguiano-Sanchez, says her children are experiencing emotional trauma due to the detention and threatened deportation of their father, who is the family's primary breadwinner.
According to Anguiano-Sanchez, their younger son, who is 11, says if his father is deported, he wants to die. She says their older son, who is 14, has lost all interest in pursuing his aspirations in school.
"His eldest similarly doesn't want to go to school. He had good grades, but is now saying that even though he wanted to be a car engineer, if his dad doesn't return, there's no point," says Anguiano-Sanchez. "If my husband doesn't return, our family will be destroyed, and the kids don't want to go on."
Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor spoke at the rally, which was followed by a march through the neighborhood.