DETROIT (WJRT) (1/17/2018) - A Michigan father and husband forced out of the United States this week by immigration agents is already missing his family.
Thousands of miles away from the place he considers home in Michigan, 39-year-old Jorge Garcia said his whole life is turned upside down as he tries to acclimate to a new home in Mexico.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stood by as Garcia boarded a flight for Mexico earlier this week. He was deported based on a judge's order from 2009, which had been delayed several times.
Garcia's wife Cindy said bad legal help set them back, but they had been working with the immigration office for years to find a path to citizenship.
Now Jorge is forced to start a new life for himself separated from his family.
"I got my family down there -- I mean up there now," he said. "Basically my whole life. "
Garcia, an undocumented father of two, had lived in Detroit for three decades after being brought to the country as a 10-year-old. His attorney said he was too old to qualify for DACA, the Obama administration policy that protected people brought to the United States illegally as children from being deported.
Cindy Garcia says her husband has no criminal history and that the family had been trying to change his immigration status for years. This week, his time ran up.
"I kind of had it in the back of my mind that something like this was going to happen, but I didn't think it was going to happen this soon, because the other times they were giving me more time," Jorge said.
That led to an emotional goodbye Monday at Detroit Metro Airport. Garcia said he's devastated without being with his family.
"You know, even though you can talk to them is not. -- it's not the same thing," he said. "Basically, to be there with them -- you know your actual body -- be with them and talk to them physically."
Cindy Garcia is holding out hope she can convince U.S. immigration authorities to reconsider the case, but the earliest she can get a hearing is in 2019.