KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Josue Perez illegally entered the United States from Mexico 16 years ago and has been living in Kansas City, Mo., since. Two weeks ago, ICE agents discovered Perez, arrested him and have been holding him in detention.
Now, a group of local ministers is fighting to prevent Perez from being deported. But, a former Minuteman living in Kansas believes Perez should be deported.
The faith organization Communities Creating Opportunities, CCO, is leading the drive to convince ICE agents to return Perez to his family. Perez has a 17-year-old son, a 12-year-old daughter and a wife.
"Perez has a tax identification number and has been paying income taxes for 16 years," CCO Spokesperson Andrew Kling said. "He has been doing the right thing but could never seek citizenship because there was no clear path for him to do that."
Perez came to the United States after the amnesty program and would have risked being arrested if he petitioned to become a U.S. citizen.
Former Minuteman Ed Hayes of Kansas is a retired law enforcement officer in Johnson County. He runs a website called the Foreign National Crime Information Center at http://www.fncic-voiacm.org/. Hayes believes Perez should be deported.
"My opinion, anybody that is in this country illegally should go home," Hayes said. "Being in law enforcement for 29 years, I upheld the laws, I obeyed the laws all my life and I want everybody to obey the laws."
CCO leaders said deporting Perez and dismantling a family is wrong. They filed a request with ICE for a stay to block deportation but ICE denied the request for a stay. Now, it's possible that Perez could be deported at any time.
"We are asking ICE agents to exercise their discretion and return Perez to his family," Kling said.
Perez's son and daughter were at a protest in front of the Immigration Courthouse in Kansas City, Mo. His daughter cried as she told the group that she just wants her dad to come back home. His son is so distraught that he told reporters that he couldn't do any interviews.