Deportation case makes one wonder: Is this what we’ve become?
To the editor, In February 2017 Roberto Beristain went to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to renew his work permit, as he had done for years. He had come to the U.S. 20 years earlier without a visa.
Beristain had worked as a cook at a small-town restaurant, working hard enough to eventually own it. He and his wife were raising three children. His restaurant employed nearly 20 employees. He had a work permit, a driver’s license, paid taxes and for years, had been renewing his work permit at the ICE office. His wife and children were citizens and Beristain had tried for years to become a citizen. His paperwork showed that on a family vacation years earlier to Niagara Falls, he had been detained at the Canadian border and consequently his citizenship application had been compromised.
Other than immigrating without permission, he had been completely law-abiding without even a traffic ticket. On that February ICE visit he was arrested. He was held for deportation in Racine. Even with family, employees and community members making the case for what an upstanding individual Beristain was, he was deported to Juarez, Mexico and the family lost their father and the restaurant.
The president told us ICE would go after criminals — not members of the community in good standing. Other than immigrating 20 years ago without permission, why should a federal agency rip away this man from his business, wife, children and friends?