Elyria family says goodbye to father deported back to Mexico

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CLEVELAND, OH- An Elyria husband, father and caretaker is being deported to Mexico today after a stay of deportation to remain in the area was denied. Pedro Hernandez-Ramirez said goodbye to his family and is flying to Acapulco.

“We just can't get past leaving him at the gate alone,” his wife, Seleste Wisniewski-Hernandez said. “We’ll take it one day at a time, one step at a time. When my baby laid down last night he said I don’t want him to go but there is nothing we can do anymore. We did it all.”

Seleste Wisniewski-Hernandez says her husband has an approved I-130 Visa, a work permit until the end of February 2018, credit and a drivers license. She says he didn’t even have a traffic violation here. He just worked every day and then went home to take care of his children.

“We almost got there, we just needed the green card. We saw the finish line, we were so close to the American dream, we just didn’t get across it,” Wisniewski-Hernandez said.

ICE officials say Hernandez-Ramirez is a repeat immigration violator who has been removed from the country three times. Each time he has returned illegally. He was most recently deported in 2013, but returned illegally. A federal judge granted a stay of deportation from then until now.

"Mr. Hernandez-Ramirez is a repeat immigration violator who has been removed from the U.S. on three separate occasions, beginning in 2001 and most recently on two occasions in 2013," said Khaalid Walls, the ICE Northeast Regional Director of Communications. "In an exercise of discretion, ICE has allowed Mr. Hernandez to remain free from custody while timely finalizing his departure arrangements."

The family says one of the hardest parts about Pedro being sent away is because he is the main caretaker for his adult son who has special needs and is in a wheelchair. Pedro is the only one in the family strong enough to lift him.

“I can’t do it,” his wife said. “I can’t pick him up, my husband does all of that and I never thought I would have to think about that.”

Thursday Bishop Nelson Perez wrote a letter to ICE in hopes of helping the family. He tells Fox 8 he believes this is a sign of a broken U.S. Immigration system that desperately needs reform.

“Yes we have to protect our borders and our country has that right,” Bishop Perez said. “But it needs to be in a humane and compassionate way. One that respects human dignity, sanity, holiness and the integrity of human family.”

While two of the four children were at the airport, the family could not bring the oldest son to say goodbye because Seleste says she would not be able to lift him when they brought him home.

Pedro does have family in Acapulco that he will stay with but they say they will continue to fight to bring him back to Elyria. Pedro, who does not speak English, talked to Fox 8 while his wife translated.

“I understand but in the same matter I don’t understand why,” he said. “My heart is sad but thank you to the United States for the short time you let me live the American Dream.”