SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco Bay Area teenager issued an impassioned plea Tuesday to federal immigration officials, asking them to halt the deportation of her father back to Mexico.
Hulissa Aguilar, a 14-year old daughter and U.S. citizen, is fearing the emotional and financial impact she and her two young siblings will face if her father, Hugo, is sent back to his native Mexico for a second time.
Hugo Aguilar illegally came the U.S. as a 16-year-old, graduated from Mt. Eden High School and has spent much of the last two decades working locally as a carpenter.
He was convicted of a drug charge in 2005 for a crime he committed when he was age 20, completed a two-year jail sentence and was returned to Mexico. He illegally re-entered the country a short time later and rejoined his family.
In 2017, Immigration agents once again took him into custody. He was detained by ICE at West County Detention Facility for 17 months before he was released pending legal hearings. A federal court and an appeals court have upheld his deportation order which could be carried out within the next few weeks.
Aguilar is at a loss over his looming deportation.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen, you know? I don’t know. I don’t what I’m gonna…I don’t know what to do,” he said.
Now, his children, family and friends were asking immigration officials to ignore those court decisions.
“My dad has always done what he could for me,” Hulissa said in a prepared statement. “He is a father who needs to provide for and support me and my two younger siblings. I’m asking you to please stop the deportation process. This is his home.”
Hulissa — who lives with Hugo — also posted a video on YouTube.
Hugo was told on Sept. 18th he had a week to turn himself into immigration authorities in a week for deportation. That was extended because of the COVID-19 outbreak to Nov. 2nd.
“Even though we did get more time, it still doesn’t make up for the time which could be potentially lost with him,” she said.
A rally to protest Aguilar’s deportation was held Tuesday morning in front of ICE headquarters in San Francisco.
Hulissa spoke on her father’s behalf.
“My dad has helped build this nation,” she said. “He builds the houses we live in, yet those who live in them still see him as less than them.”
Supporters are asking ICE Director David Jennings to use his authority to allow Hugo to stay. But when they tried to deliver 50,000 signatures on a petition Tuesday, ICE officials refused to accept them.
The experience has forced Hulissa to grow up quickly, but she still doesn’t understand why the law has to judge people by their worst day and ignore everything that’s happened since.
“I just feel like it’s so inhumane and I don’t how people don’t have a heart to see that they need to be here,” said Hulissa. “They need to be here for their family. They’re not here to cause trouble. They’re here to support their family; nothing more.”
KPIX 5 reached out to local ICE officials for a comment about Hugo Aguilar’s case, but have yet to receive a statement.