DETROIT (WXYZ/CNN) – Too old to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program but brought to the United States when he was 10, a husband and father of two was deported to Mexico Monday.
Jorge Garcia's wife Cindy says the moment when her husband boarded a plane to Mexico didn't feel real until Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stepped in to take him away from his family, who had surrounded him with hugs.
"That's when the tears just started flowing because we knew that was going to be it. There wasn't much more that we could do," Cindy Garcia said.
A 39-year-old landscaper, Jorge Garcia came to the United States illegally with his parents when he was 10. He arrived one year before he could qualify under DACA.
Cindy Garcia says for the last 13 years, her husband has been checking in with ICE and working on finding a path to citizenship. She says some bad legal help set them back.
"In total, we've given immigration over $125,000," Cindy Garcia said. "We've never done anything without permission from immigration. Because any time you leave the city, you have to tell them where you are going."
However, the last time the Garcias checked in with immigration agents in November, they were told Jorge would have to leave Jan. 15.
Cindy Garcia says her husband has no criminal record, not even a traffic ticket, and the couple's 12-year-old son Jorge Jr. and 15-year-old daughter Soleil are devastated.
"It's a nightmare. They're sad. They're depressed. They don't really comprehend everything that's going on. All they know is their dad is gone and they don't know when they're going to see him again," Cindy Garcia said.
Jorge Garcia is now in Mexico City. His wife is working to get him back to the US but says it could be 18 months before he gets a hearing.
The 39-year-old had been facing an order of removal since 2009 but had received extensions under the Obama administration, according to CNN.