Man working to uplift Indy community faces deportation after his "stay" renewal was denied

Posted: 6:18 PM, May 08, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-08 21:58:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- A couple’s efforts to redevelop and uplift their east side neighborhood could be derailed because one of them is now fighting deportation.

Harlon Wilson and Enrique Gonzalez tied the knot as one of the first legalized gay marriages in Indianapolis four years.

Now, their marriage could be torn apart because Gonzalez is facing deportation after entering the country illegally in 2005 from El Salvador.

“The dream was to help my family and I guess that’s why I came here because I wanted to do more to help more,” said Enrique.

Gonzalez has been able to live in the country for the past 13 years because a judge has granted him two “stay of removals” on the basis of extreme hardship and the couple’s marriage.

But an executive order issued in January of last year calls for deportations of all removable undocumented immigrants and when Gonzalez applied to renew his stay a few months ago, it was denied.

"Reality hits when you realize you may lose the person that's your partner,” said Harlon.

The couple is set to leave the country in September but fear that if they return to El Salvador they will be targetted because of their sexual orientation. 

"I've seen on the news where they killed them for being gay," said Harlon.

The couple has filed a motion with the courts to reconsider.

Answers to common questions about deportation courtesy of ICE

WHAT are the most common reasons for being deported? Entering the U.S. illegally, without inspection by an immigration official, being found in the U.S. illegally, without cause (such as overstaying a visa). But there are hundreds of other reasons (losing legal status, fraud, illegally re-entering [which is a felony], etc.,) In general when a federal immigration judge orders the person to leave – but again, this isn’t always the case. Some aliens are ordered to leave directly from the border without seeing a judge, others who come from certain countries waive their rights to a judge via international agreement.

WHO is at risk of deportation? Anyone who violates U.S. immigration law can be subject to removal from the country (deportation). ICE prioritizes the arrest of aliens based on criminality, see Presidential Executive Orders from Jan 25, 2017, on the subject, sec 5 specifically of the following lists the priorities in order of precedence.  

Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States []

HOW long does it typically take between being notified you will be deported and actually being deported? There is no routine timeline. Each case is treated on its merits and each takes whatever time it takes. The more appeals the individual makes, the longer it can take; the less cooperative the alien’s home country is, the longer it can take. In both examples, sometimes years.

There are some individuals whose home nations were uncooperative in the past, sometimes for years. In those cases, the individual alien could be ordered to leave by a federal immigration judge but the government was unable to carry out the order. That doesn’t mean the order simply goes away, but in the years that follow governments sometimes become more cooperative, so you sometimes see individuals who were ordered to leave the US 10 or 20 years ago, who should have left, but never did because the US couldn’t force their home nations to cooperate.

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