THE BRONX, N.Y. — The family of a Bronx man caught in the middle of a deportation battle says they will not rest until he is back home.
Javier Castillo Maradiaga was set to be deported to Honduras Friday morning, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement pushed his flight to Monday, giving his family and supporters more time to plead his case to federal authorities.
Castillo Maradiaga, 27, has lived in the country for 20 years and was previously enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He was detained by ICE 14 months ago.
His sister, Dariela Maradiaga, said the tug-of-war over his deportation is taking a toll on the family.
“We are exhausted. We are hurt,” she said.
Castillo Maradiaga was brought to the United States when he was 7 years old as his family fled the danger of gangs and corruption in Honduras.
Dariela Maradiaga said she’s concerned about her brother being sent to a region he barely knows.
“The place that we fled is full of these gangs and they are charging a tax to live there,” she said. “You have to pay them a tax so nothing happens to you.”
At the root of Castillo Maradiaga’s case: he failed to renew his DACA status in 2019 — a decision his family said was influenced by a climate of anti-immigration rhetoric led by then-President Donald Trump.
President Joe Biden signed a 100-day moratorium on deportation when he took office earlier in January, however, a federal judge in Texas appointed by Trump issued a restraining order blocking the executive order, causing more chaos and confusion for families like Castillo Maradiaga’s.
Rep. Richie Torres, who represents the Bronx, decried ICE’s decision to move forward with the deportation.
“There is no reason to rush this deportation and cause senseless suffering among the family of Javier Castillo Maradiaga,” he said.
Castillo Maradiaga was turned over to ICE in December 2019 by the city Department of Correction following an arrest, according to an ICE spokesperson. The charges were later dismissed but an immigration judge in January denied his motion for a stay on his removal.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is in compliance with the temporary restraining order issued by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Jan. 26,” the ICE spokesperson told PIX11 on Friday.
Castillo Maradiaga remains in a Louisiana detention center waiting to learn his fate. His family, meanwhile, vows to continue their fight with rallies and legal action appealing to ICE in New York.