Mario Hernandez came to Detroit as an adult from Mexico without a visa in 1998.
Hernandez has since started a small business, raised three daughters, and given back to his community. But he may not be able to stay here if the U.S. The Board of Immigration Appeals is considering his appeal of a deportation order.
Estrella Hernandez, Mario's oldest daughter, says it wouldn't make any sense to deport her father.
“I don't understand, he's a man of God, he's a member of his community, he supports everyone,” Hernandez said about her father. “It's like he's a citizen, he just wasn't born here.”
A group of protestors, largely Hernandez's Detroit neighbors and volunteers from Michigan United, wants to keep him from being deported, which they say would hurt his family, his business and his community.
Marva De Armas, Hernandez's attorney, thinks he should be allowed to stay in the country because President Trump said his priority was to deport criminals, not people like her client.
“Who's a priority for government resources and funding purposes, you know, who we should expedite out of the country, and Mario doesn't seem to fit any of that criteria,” De Armas said.
De Armas said he has no criminal record and has been granted access to stay from the board of immigration multiple times in the past.
“This office has the authority to let [Mario] stay, and it’s not like they haven’t done so already,” she said, “so why put him and his family and his friends and neighbors through this again?”
Although Hernandez was told he needs to leave the country by March 31, he has a waiting period of up to 60 days to know whether his appeal will be granted.