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Triad Teen's Mother Facing Deportation Seeks Community Support

12:33 PM, May 14, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- A 15-year-old Triad boy's life is hanging in the balance - at least that is how it seems to him - as his mother faces an impending deportation in June.
Fredi Reyes may have to choose between staying with his mother or using his own citizenship to stay in the United States.

There's also another option, getting the Department of Homeland Security to reopen Orfilia Reyes' case but it's complicated and the clock is ticking.

Fredi, meanwhile, is caught in the middle of the immigration battle which has nothing to do with his own legal status and everything to do with his livelihood.

The high school honor student has found comfort in music - excelling in playing instruments from guitars to pianos.
But family pictures show he's most comfortable with his saxophone.
Perhaps it's the soothing sounds of the songs he plays or that when Fredi plays, his mother and brother join in; brother with a guitar, mom with her trebble voice.  

But whatever it is, when the 15-year-old puts his saxophone to his lips, he puts in his all -- drowning out the chaos that's been eating him up inside.

"I find myself overwhelmed. Not only do I have to worry about school, homework, worrying what other people think about me, I also have to deal with this," Fredi said, as his voice cracked from sadness.

His mother's 22-year battle with her immigration papers could end in a deportation as soon as June 7th but her current lawyer says it should have never come to this.

"Ms. Reyes had applied for political asylum from the country of Guatemala, her uncle had been assassinated, and her father was a politician in Guatemala that had put the whole family at risk," said Jeremy McKinney, the family's immigration lawyer.

Mckinney says Reyes came here legally on a visitor's visa after getting death threats in Guatemala.
Legal papers the attorney provided News 2 shows Ms. Reyes missed a lot of deadlines - to file for asylum, to file for motions to reopen her case and more.

But McKinney says it was all because Reyes hired an immigration lawyer who misled her and got the family in this legal mess.

"The Department of Homeland Security still wants to deport the mother, the mother of a U.S. citizen child. I don't understand the reasons, to be honest with you," McKinney added.

"If she goes to Guatemala, I'll either have to go to Guatemala with her or stay with social services," Fredi said, noting that he has no ties in his mother's country and would rather stay in the U.S. where his citizenship is.

Reyes says it tears her apart watching her children fear for their future.

"When I think about my son...it's hard for me," she said through tears.

"I've seen my mother just cry often, I often find myself questioning God why this is happening to me," Fredi said. "It's broken this family a lot."

Legal lifelines for the Reyes family may have run out but they are trying one more thing; foot soldiers, community members who have volunteered to help get petitions signed and drum support to sway immigration agents to reopen Reyes' case.

"I want to ask them to support me, to help us," said Fredd Reyes, the older brother.

It's the same plea for the younger Reyes who says he just wants to be a normal kid.
"You know, worry about common problems, clothes, whether I have zits on my face or not. I just want a normal life."

McKinney says Reyes and her elder son, who was a toddler when she fled to this country, are eligible for a green card.

He says Reyes' sister, who is a citizen, petitioned for the eligibility which has been approved but the green card application cannot be processed while their deportation case is still closed.

The attorney is now trying to get immigration officials to open the deportation case so that Fredi's mother and older brother can file to become legal residents.

The family is holding an immigration justice vigil this Tuesday to ask for community support.

The Vigil For Immigrant Justice will be held at Our Lady of Grace Church on Tuesday, May 15th in Greensboro.
6:30-8 p.m.

The family has also set up an online petition at

http://chn.ge/orfilia.

For more info: LKhamala@afsc.org / 336-854-0633

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