ICE Decision: Undocumented Massachusetts Father to Be Deported in Month

Rigoberto Mendez has lived in the United States for 27 years and awarded renewals to stay but his most recent request was denied

An undocumented Massachusetts father will soon be deported after living in the United States for decades.

For 27 years, Rigoberto Mendez has called America his home. Since arriving in 1991, he has fallen in love, gotten married and had two children.

He can't contain his smile when he talks about his oldest son, Roberto Felipe, who will start at the University of Massachusetts Boston in September on a full scholarship.

But where there are ups, there are downs.

As the lone source of income in the house, Mendez works seven days a week and cares for his wife who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.

"I'm asking for a second chance," said Mendez. "To be here with my kids and have a normal life like everybody does."

On Wednesday, Mendez walked out of a nondescript building in Burlington holding a plane ticket.

It's his one-way trip back to the country he escaped from when he was 18.

He had to prove to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent that he was leaving before Sept. 15, his deportation date.

When Mendez thinks about what life for him will be like back in Guatemala, he uses one word, "disaster".

This battle has lasted a decade. In 2009, he was given an "Order of Removal" for his illegal status in the country. Mendez was taken into custody, released, and awarded renewals to stay on one-year terms.

His most recent request was denied — another story of immigration heartbreak that is being tied to the politics of the highest office in the country.

"Why are you doing this to me," asked Mendez. "I have two American citizen kids. I have a sick wife. I haven't done anything bad."

Outside of their apartment in Newton, Felipe said it was "unfair" that his father has to leave when people who have done far worse are allowed to stay.

"I'd be the sole provider for my family so I'd have to stop studying and I'd have to stop going to school, unfortunately," said Felipe.

There is hope. Word of Mendez's story has gotten to Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren.

According to Mendez's attorney, both have requested ICE to reconsider their decision.

"I hope we don't come to the end in me leaving the country," said Mendez. "I believe in God. I know God makes a big difference. He can make big changes. God knows what's better for me."

Mendez said he hopes his caseworker will reconsider their decision to deport.

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