Undocumented immigrant fights deportation to stay with four chil - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Undocumented immigrant fights deportation to stay with four children

Posted: Updated:
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

The debate has been raging on our social media pages since the minute we posted it.  

What should happen to an Ohio man who has lived as an undocumented worker in this country for 16 years, and now faces being deported to Mexico in four days?

Jesus Lara Lopez has a wife, four children, a job and he pays his taxes.  

But according to America's Voice, a group that works to enact policy change, the laws currently don't permit him to be a U.S. citizen right now.

So who is Jesus Lara Lopez and how did he get into this predicament?

Lara Lopez says he came to this country in 2001 and initially found work picking vegetables in Florida.

Soon after he moved to Willard, and now works for Pepperidge Farm and calls Ohio home.

Lara Lopez's oldest son Eric helped interpret his thoughts. "He said that he never had a father and that his mom was telling him to keep going.  So he wants us to have a better future and have a better life."

But the 'American Dream' he has worked for could be abruptly coming to an end.

"He says that it hurts him.  That his heart is broken that they're separating his family."

Lara Lopez' four American born children could now grow up without a father by their side.  

In the United States since 2001, Lara Lopez could be forced to board a plane for Mexico just after 5 a.m. on Tuesday, July 18th.

His 11-year-old son Anuar says, "He helps me with my homework.  He tells me to study because he wants me to live my dream.  I love him a lot."

However, the clock is ticking and his children have helped gather support nationwide in the form of more than 35,000 signatures.  

A petition has been emailed to Congressman Bob Gibbs who represents Ohio's 7th District.

Lara Lopez' child are hoping the lawmaker will step in to keep their father who has a work permit, a steady job, owns a home and pays his taxes from being deported.

Lara Lopez is also now wearing an ankle bracelet even though he's never been convicted of a crime.

In 2008, he was stopped for a minor traffic violation.  

U.S. Immigration and Customs was notified about the traffic infraction and he was given an order of deportation.  

In 2011, he lost an appeal but was permitted to stay and work in the U.S.
  
Now under the current immigration push against undocumented workers, he has to go.

However, his oldest son Edwin has this to say to the Trump administration, "I would say to leave my dad alone because you're separating dads from their children and if they're really little they won't have a chance to know their dads."

The family is still banking on an 11th-hour reprieve.
 

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