Two months ago, Antonio de Jesus Martinez was on his way to a routine immigration interview in New York City with officials, which he was told could get him one step closer to permanent immigration status and avoid years of separation from his family.
He didn’t know the government was waiting to tear his family apart.
The 34-year-old and his wife have two children at home, including a newborn baby boy. Antonio is from El Salvador and has lived in the United States for 15 years. He and his wife, Vivian, have been together for 14 years. Vivian was born in Queens, New York. Over a year ago, the couple began the process of petitioning for Antonio to obtain lawful status, using a procedure created to permit couples with one partner who has an outstanding removal order to apply for residency without spending years outside the U.S. and separated from his or her family.
But when Antonio showed up to the immigration meeting in Manhattan, ICE officers were waiting for him.
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