Father fights to stay with family in United States

May 14, 2013 9:00:00 PM PDT
Friends and family are fighting to keep a father of three from being deported.

Jose Ortiz was arrested in Cary when he couldn't give an officer a valid driver's license. Ortiz couldn't provide one because he can't get one.

"The consequences are just horrible," said Viridiana Martinez, with the NC Dream Team

About 150 of Ortiz's closest friends met inside St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Fuquay-Varina on Wednesday evening.

Tears streamed down Ortiz's eyes as his three little girls ranging from three to five years old held signs saying don't deport my daddy.

Through an interpreter, Ortiz said it's very unfair that this is happening to people like him who are not criminals.

The turmoil for Ortiz began last May when he got into a minor car accident while he was headed to work. When he couldn't provide a driver's license police arrested him.

"Illegal immigrants are not issued licenses in North Carolina," said Martinez. "Had he had a driver's license, you know he would have gotten a ticket or something."

Days later, police released Ortiz from jail, but, after three immigration court hearings in Charlotte, a judge ordered him to return to his native Mexico -- leaving behind his wife and children.

Immigration advocates with the NC Dream Team say Ortiz's plight is in line with their continued effort to get driver's licenses for all undocumented immigrants. They say Ortiz should get special consideration because he's lived and worked in the United States for 13 years and he doesn't have a criminal record.

"This is an opportunity for us to say you don't have to be afraid about your immigration status," said Martinez. "You can be public about it and not only that; you can fight your case."    

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