WAKE COUNTY, North Carolina (WTVD) --Osvaldo Gomez and his wife have spent thousands of dollars and are in week seven of sleepless nights.
"My life is around my children," said Gomez.
But one of his kids isn't with him. His son, Ruben Guzman, 22, is being detained in the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. He's been there for about two weeks, but he's been in custody since March 12.
Knightdale's police chief confirms that in the early morning hours of March 12, his officers spotted a car that had been reported stolen. His officers tried to stop the car, but the driver took off.
Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App
Eventually, officers caught up with the group inside the car and took them all to jail. Guzman was in that group.
His family said that Guzman's friends were picking him up for a party and that Guzman had no idea the car they picked him up in was stolen. He was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, but the charge was later dismissed.
"His case got dismissed like a week later, but they didn't release him even though he was under DACA," said Gomez.
He said his son's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was active when this happened.
Byron Martinez, Director of Unidos We Stand, has stepped in the help the family. He explained that if you get arrested you can be put on an immigration hold. But he said things moved too fast for Guzman, even after the case was dismissed.
"With Ruben, he was processed in jail, the officer said okay I'm going to fingerprint you and review your case knowing that he had his charges dismissed by the state," said Martinez. "His DACA status was still good because the attorney that was working the case here in Raleigh sent all the documentation."
Despite that, Martinez said Guzman was kept in jail in Wake County before he was sent to a facility in South Carolina and then to Georgia.
Guzman has been in trouble with the law before for traffic violations and an assault charge. Court records show his traffic violations had been waived and the assault charge was dismissed.
"We have proof he didn't commit a crime," said Martinez. "He's still under DACA. He has done everything he needs to do."
His parents say their son is a hard worker. They said he started his own lawn care business by walking his lawnmower and weed eater around the neighborhood looking for work. They said he also works in construction with his father. Gomez remodels homes and said his son was eager to learn more in the business. Gomez said his son also tried to sign up to be a Marine and serve his country.
ABC11 reached out to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for comment. While they could not comment on any specifics of this case they did not mention the need for a conviction in the statement they released.
Bryan D. Cox - Southern Region Communications Director (Spokesman)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
"A decision to grant deferred action may be revoked by DHS at any time, particularly in the case of someone who commits a crime or is otherwise found to pose a national security of public safety threat. Deferred action does not, in any way, prevent DHS from moving forward with execution of a removal order. Since the start of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, DHS has terminated deferred action for approximately 1,500 recipients due to criminality or gang affiliation concerns."
For now, the family is fighting through their attorney. They talk to Guzman every day by phone, sometimes several times a day. Gomez said the first thing his son asks about is his little brothers, who have been asking questions.
"Why does he have to go Mexico? Why did he have to leave?" said Gomez.
While the family is hopeful, Gomez said he has considered the possibility that his son may be deported. If that's the case, he said he is prepared to sell his home and move his family to Mexico. He said his children cry at the thought of leaving their only home, but it's the only option Gomez can think of if his son never comes home.
Still the family is hopeful that they will be able to stay in the U.S. together.
"All my life I have worked in the United States and I love this country," said Gomez.
Report a Typo