Local mother facing deportation gets aid

Photo by Todd Luck- Minerva Garcia

Local mother facing deportation gets aid
June 15
05:00 2017

“I am the mother of four children and I will do anything for them.”

That’s how a tearful Minerva Garcia introduced herself to a crowd gathered at Parkway United Church of Christ last week.

“Anything” included coming to the United States 17 years ago, so her blind son, Eduardo could have opportunities he couldn’t get in the Mexican state of Guerrero. She said she was allowed to come for six months but never went back, hoping that she could find a way to citizenship while working with a lawyer.

Since 2013, she said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been granting her a routine stay from removal each year. When she went to do her regular check in on May 25, things changed. She was ordered to leave the country by June 30.

Garcia plans to fight the order and Parkway Church is raising funds to help her, both through the  fundraiser last week and an online YouCaring crowdfunding page that’s raised more than $1,100.

Garcia said she has no criminal record. Deportation would put her family in a very difficult position. She lives with her three sons, having lost one son, Diego, to cancer in 2007. Her oldest is Eduardo, a 21 year-old graduate of the Governor Morehead School, a special school for the visually impaired in Raleigh. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protects him from deportation and allows him to work. He’s currently a packer at IFB Solutions, formerly Industries for the Blind, and hopes to be able to work with computers there. He’s also a talented musician who can sing and play guitar, which was very well received by the crowd at Parkway Church. Being blind, he depends on his mother’s care and, like Garcia, doesn’t want to leave the country.

Her two youngest children, 3-year old Mateo and 6-year old Antonio, were born in North Carolina and are American citizens. They do not have Mexican citizenship or passports needed to leave the country.

“I’ve tried my whole life to be strong for my sons,” said Garcia.  “I want them to be kind, educated and free. I know their best chance to be those things is here.”

Garcia has received a lot of support from the community, including the Sanctuary City Coalition and the faith community. The Parkway Church fundraising event drew more than 50 attendees, who listened to John Sundell sing songs and tell stories. A petition on has garnered more than 1,500 signatures requesting that she be allowed to stay in the country.

A vigil for Garcia is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at Green Street United Methodist Church.

It’s been a longstanding ICE policy to prioritize felons and security threats for deportation but an executive order from President Donald Trump has broadened those priorities. ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox couldn’t comment on the specific case, since it didn’t involve someone who’s in ICE custody, but he did say “all those in violation of immigration law” are subject to arrest, detention and possible removal from the country. He said ICE has a history of removing “non-criminal aliens” with 41 to 45 percent of removals between 2012 and 2016 involving no prior criminal convictions.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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