KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Undocumented worker Josue Noa Sandoval Perez has been living and working in Kansas City, Mo., for 16 years. He came to the city in 1998 from Mexico with his wife and 1-year-old son.
Two weeks ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents discovered Perez was an illegal immigrant. He was immediately taken into custody and could be deported. Some members of the faith community are stepping in to help him.
Wednesday afternoon, ministers with Communities Creating Opportunities (CCO) stood in front of the Homeland Security office in the Northland and prayed. They delivered a letter to the ICE agents in charge of the Perez case requesting that Perez be released.
"He has been here 16 years, he has a 17-year-old son, a 12-year-old daughter and a wife," Donna Simon said, a CCO Board Member and Pastor of St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church.
"There is ample room for prosecutorial discretion here. These laws are intended to keep communities safe. The community doesn't need to be kept safe from Josue. He's a law abiding citizen and member of the community. He's been here for 16 years and his family will stay here." Simon said.
CCO members hand-delivered the letter to the Homeland Security office. They were not permitted to see Perez or talk with the ICE agents in charge of his case.
CCO is planning a public rally on Friday, January 31, in front of the Immigration Court at 23rd and Grand Street in Kansas City. It begins at 12:15 p.m.
Perez's 17-year-old son obtained legal status through the Dream Act. Perez's 12-year-old daughter was born in the United States.
CCO ministers told us Perez did not seek citizenship because he did not believe he qualified and because the process is too complicated.