Local activists are holding a press conference this afternoon calling on ICE to release an undocumented father and husband.
They’re also circulating a petition, here, asking ICE to release Juan Carlos Vera from detention in McHenry County, saying that it’s causing an emotional hardship for his wife.
“I want him back home with us, with my son,” said Anavel Aguilera, Vera’s wife of two years. “His son misses him so much… We want him. We need him.”
Vera, 26, came to this country when he was 11 years old, his brother Jose told us. He graduated from Bolingbrook High School and has been working for the past few years. Vera met his wife over two years ago when they were working together at a warehouse, she said.
“He was a good worker,” Aguilera said. “I liked how he worked so hard.”
He was funny, too, “a happy person, happy man,” who always makes her smile.
“It was sad for me,” Aguilera cried, when asked about spending Valentine’s Day without her husband. “He should’ve been with me and with my son.”
Instead, the 26-year old man was being detained by immigration last week.
Last Monday, he was starting a new job in Bolingbrook and presented a fake ID. The HR lady said it was her “civic duty” to report him, Vera’s supporters say, and she called the police.
Vera was arrested and taken into custody. When his family went to bond him out last Wednesday, they found out that he had an ICE hold.
He was picked up on Valentine’s Day and taken to the McHenry County jail by immigration.
His supporters acknowledge that Vera isn’t “perfect.” Jose said that his brother has on previous arrest from a few years ago, a DUI, but “this would be his first contact with immigration authorities.”
Vera’s wife, Aguilera, was in the process of petition for legal status on her husband’s behalf, she said. Aguilera was waiting for March 4, when United States Citizenship and Immigration Services would begin issuing “provisional waivers” that would allow immigrants to remain in the country while their cases are heard.
As for now, the family isn’t demanding anything more of ICE except that they release Vera so that he can be with his family and fight from the outside.
“We’re not asking them to immediately drop his charges,” Jose Vera said. “Just let him have his day in court and let him, with his attorney, present all the evidence.”
ICE spokeswoman Gail Montenegro said she couldn’t comment today as it’s a federal holiday.