The wife of a Michigan man deported after 30 years in the U.S. spoke out on Tuesday, saying her family was “devastated” by his deportation to Mexico.
“I’m trying to be strong. I just want to get my story out there,” Cindy Garcia said on CNN’s “Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin." ”As depressed as I am — and I just want to scream and cry and lay in bed and not move — I know that I have to come forward for the people who cannot, and tell our story. And how devastated we are that our case should have been looked at as an individual case and not as a whole because my husband is not a criminal.”
Her husband, 39-year-old Jorge Garcia, was deported to Mexico on Monday after living in the U.S. for 30 years. He was brought to the U.S. at the age of 10 by a family member who was also here illegally, according to the Detroit Free Press, and had been working since 2005 to obtain lawful residence.
Cindy Garcia told CNN she has struggled to explain to her two children, ages 15 and 12, what happened to their father.
“It's very hard because he [the 12-year-old] doesn't grasp what the government did and he doesn't understand why they took him either, because he's not a criminal,” she said. “That's why we're trying to justify it with him. And it is very, very hard.”
In November, Jorge Garcia, who was too old to qualify for protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, was ordered to return to Mexico by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after receiving extensions of his removal since 2009 under the Obama administration.
“It was this year, Nov. 20 was our annual visit with them,” Cindy Garcia told CNN. “We went and they told us they were going to detain him. Our faces turned white. We panicked. We didn't know what to do.”
Cindy Garcia said an ICE officer reviewed Jorge’s case before granting him another extension to stay until Jan. 15.
“It was very sad, knowing that we had to face this head-on and there was no more extensions that were coming,” she said.
Video of the family saying their goodbyes and crying at Detroit Metropolitan Airport went viral on Monday. When asked about their last words, Cindy Garcia told CNN that she told her husband they would see him soon.
“I love you and we're going to miss you. And we're going to bring you back as soon as we can,” she said.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamKyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks MORE (R-S.C.) said Garcia's case is "something we need to look at."
“Sen. Grassley asked me about deporting people who are criminals. Fine. I think we're doing that as we speak. That's something to consider,” Graham said. “Now, the young man who got deported yesterday, 39 years old, apparently, is something we need to look at.”
Jorge Garcia's deportation comes as lawmakers are attempting to negotiate with President TrumpDonald TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report MORE's White House on a fix for DACA.