WOODHAVEN, Queens — A 57-year-old Queens dad is less than a week away from a scheduled deportation, but his family isn't giving up on the right to keep him here.
There's a petition with nearly 10,000 signatures calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement not to deport Juan Villacis on Friday.
"He’s an extraordinary human being and we are asking ICE to reconsider," Paulina Rueda said.
Juan’s wife and his twin daughters entered the country legally in 2001 seeking political asylum.
Once that was denied, they always checked in with ICE every year but the change in Administration meant a change in status.
“They paid taxes for 17 years,” Rueda told PIX11. “They we’re living the American Dream.”
Liany Villacis, Juan's wife, was also ordered to buy a one-way ticket to her native Colombia for Jan. 15. Her husband turns 58 this Wednesday. He'll most likely be spending it alone in a detention center.
The Villacis family’s immigration lawyer has filed a 1,000-page emergency stay of removal and is also hoping the Board of Immigration will re-open the case. Villacis is expected to be sent to a Texas detention center early Monday morning.
“It breaks my heart. He never committed a crime,” Liany Villacis, Juan’s other twin daughter, told PIX11. “He shouldn’t be in a Jail in the first place,” she added.
The Villacis daughters are both DACA “dreamers,” so their fate longtime is not known as well.
The family is hoping to hear good news sometime before Friday. They are cautiously hopeful because they say that’s the best way to get through the holidays when they’re missing their husband and father so much.