Jesus Berrones first came to the United States in 1989 when he was only one-year-old. In the last 29 years, Berrones has worked very hard to establish his life here. He and his wife, a U.S. citizen, are raising their five children in Arizona. One of their children, who is just 5 years old, was diagnosed with leukemia and is undergoing chemotherapy.
However, despite the fact that Berrones is the sole provider for his family, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has ordered his deportation to Mexico.
Berrones was granted a stay of removal two years ago when his son was initially diagnosed with cancer, a stay is often granted to parents that need to care for sick children. However, since the changes made by the Trump administration, ICE has begun to crackdown on immigration nationwide, even though Trump initially claimed the agency would mostly focus on criminals.
When Berrones went to refile his stay of deportation last year, he was told it was unnecessary because he was no longer a priority, but then in January, he got a notice of deportation from ICE. His lawyer filed another request, but his stay was denied.
Now this husband and father has taken refuge in the Shadow Rock United Church of Christ in Phoenix. Shadow Rock is just one of many churches around the country that are providing aid to undocumented immigrants being targeted by ICE. The sanctuary churches are attempting to protect family unity and save people like Berrones from deportation.
His wife Sonia says, “We’re scared. The kids will ask me: ‘Where’s Daddy?”
Berrones must remain in the church until a legal solution that allows him to stay in the U.S. can be found.