A Detroit man’s tearful goodbye to his family, as he was deported to Mexico, has prompted outcry over the United States’ immigration policies.
Jorge Garcia, 39, hugged his wife and children at the Detroit Metro Airport on Monday, before boarding a plane to Mexico. Garcia has lived in the U.S. since he was 10 years old and has long sought legal status.
WATCH: Jorge Garcia’s wife speaks out on husband’s deportation
But the landscaper, who arrived as an undocumented immigrant, hasn’t been successful. He received several extensions under the Obama administration, according to CNN.
In November, amid U.S. President Donald Trump‘s crackdown on illegal immigrants, Garcia learned he was to leave the country.
His deportation date was pushed back as the family tried to fight the ruling, and he was able to spend the holidays with his wife and two children, who are U.S. citizens.
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Now, he can’t return to the country for a decade.
Garcia’s wife, Cindy, spoke out on her husband’s deportation, describing the situation as a “nightmare.”
“We’ve never done anything without permission from immigration, because anytime you leave the city, you have to tell them where you are going,” she said.
The mother added that her children — a 15-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son — are “depressed” over their father’s departure.
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“They don’t really comprehend everything that’s going on. All they know is that their dad is gone, and they don’t know when they’re going to see him again.”
The family had originally hoped for a new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) law that would make him eligible to remain in the country. But the law’s future is currently up in the air.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department said it will ask the Supreme Court to overturn a judge’s ruling last week that blocked President Trump’s move to end the program.
FACT CHECK: What the Trump administration said about DACA
A variety of Democratic state attorneys general, organizations and individuals challenged Trump’s action in multiple federal courts.
Garcia’s deportation also prompted protests at the airport, with demonstrators holding up signs that read, “Stop separating families.”
On social media, those viewing the family’s painful goodbye also voiced support for Garcia.
A petition launched on MoveOn.org, titled “Help Jorge Garcia return to his family in Lincoln Park!” currently sits at more than 3,000 signatures.
“Stop separating families! Allow Jorge Garcia to return to his family in Michigan and pass the Dream Act now,” it reads.
A separate campaign on GoFundMe, which appears to be launched by Garcia’s wife in efforts to raise money for legal fees, has netted $10,000.
— With files from the Associated Press, Reuters