Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Children > Guatemalan Father Dies Giving Autistic Son a Better Life in the United States

Guatemalan Father Dies Giving Autistic Son a Better Life in the United States

LatinaLista — The March 6, 2007 immigration raid on the Bianco factory workers in New Bedford, MA was all the more heartbreaking when stories surfaced of mothers and fathers being taken into custody and leaving behind their children.
The common criticism is that if any of these undocumented parents love their children as they say they do, why wouldn’t they tell the authorities about them so they could be reunited and sent back to their native countries as a family?
It’s a valid question that doesn’t have an easy answer.
Until there is an understanding that the lives these families would return to are nowhere near the level of prosperity their hard work garners for them here, no matter how humble, critics will never understand and will always shout for these people to go back.

Juana and Mauricio are left with an uncertain future.

In one case, the medical treatment of one family’s young autistic child was enough reason to lead a couple to choose to stay in the US illegally and for the father to end up dying for the love of his son.

Ricardo Gomez Garcia, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, worked a double shift at the Bianco factory in New Bedford. He and his wife, Juana, married 20 years, left their four children with Juana’s mother in Guatemala as they made their way to the northeast US to find jobs that paid enough money to send home to pay for school fees and other expenses for their children.
In the meantime, they had another son who was born in the United States. Unfortunately, the baby, named Mauricio, was diagnosed with autism.
Juana takes Mauricio to special therapy classes and he must also receive specialized medical care. The two shifts at the Biano factory helped pay for that therapy and treatment.
Yet, even though working two shifts, separated from his other children and Mauricio had autism, Ricardo lived for his family. That’s why, even after he was caught by immigration officials and deported in 2005, Ricardo returned yet again illegally to the US so Juana and Mauricio would not be alone in the United States.
However, because Ricardo had already been deported once, the second time he was caught, while working at the factory, made it a felony. After being picked up in MA, he was sent to an El Paso detention center. While there, he got sick from headaches and toothaches — the stress from worrying about Juana and Mauricio.
It’s not really known how much or how soon ICE officials administered medical care to Ricardo. Though Ricardo paid over $2,000 to an attorney to try and win a reprieve from his deportation for humanitarian reasons, he lost.
But he wasn’t giving up.
He was deported and went home to Guatemala to see his children. He then paid a coyote to bring him back to the U.S. He was able to make his way back all the way to see Juana and Mauricio. He got there in time to play with Mauricio.
Unfortunately, whether it was the trip and the stress of it all or his detention under ICE at the detention facility, Ricardo soon was complaining of a sore throat, headaches and exhaustion. By the time his family called an ambulance for him, he was much worse.
He died in the emergency room at a local hospital.
Now, the breadwinner of one family in two countries is gone. As any mother, Juana is worried about the future of her children with Ricardo gone. If she returns to Guatemala, she knows Mauricio, who is a US citizen, won’t ever receive the treatment and specialized schooling that autistic children need.
But if she stays, the hardships and continued worrying for her children still left in Guatemala, with no money to send them, burdens her as well.
In the meantime, she knows Ricardo must go home one last time. But she doesn’t have the money to send his body back.
Therefore, contributions are being collected to help Juana. Contributions for Ricardo’s burial and his family can be sent to Catholic Social Services, 238 Bonney St., New Bedford, MA 02744.
Ricardo and Juana’s actions will be condemned by critics but nobody can condemn the love Ricardo had for his family that he would die to provide his children the best he could get for them.

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  • kyledeb
    November 6, 2007 at 3:51 am

    Thanks for getting the word out there about this, Marisa. You always do the best digging and are able to get the facts out there very well.
    If people don’t want the trouble of sending I’ve been collecting paypal donations on Citizen Orange.

  • Horace
    November 6, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    “Unfortunately, whether it was the trip and the stress of it all or his detention under ICE at the detention facility, Ricardo soon was complaining of a sore throat, headaches and exhaustion.”
    You’ve got to be kidding, blaming ICE for this man’s problems, problems he created by is own bad decision to show contempt for this country’s immigration laws. You use pure innuendo to villify ICE, without the tiniest bit of evidence to prove your postion. How disgusting!

  • kyle
    November 6, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    What is disgusting is that people like yourself that have time to troll the internet and hate on migrants that build your homes, pick and serve your food, and clean the places you frequent.
    Ricardo Gomez Garcia was threading U.S. military backpacks and the Pentagon was paying him for it!
    There are sources alleging it was ICE’s poor medical treatment that resulted in his death, and has soon as he arrived in Guatemala his relatives said that he ws very ill. That makes it perfectly ethical to cite journalistically.
    It is people like yourself that are disgusting and I only wish migrants had the privilege of finding every anti-migrant post and responding to it to put people like you in their places.
    Wake up! You are being misled into blaming the U.S.’s problems on these migrants, and the world suffers for it.

  • Frank
    November 6, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    They aren’t migrants. They are illegal aliens who violated our immigration laws. Law abiding American citizens did not invite them to pick our food or any of the other things you mentioned. It is greedy employers that do to line their pockets with profit. Many of these jobs such as construction have been taken from Americans because the illegal works cheaper. There is no noble cause in whole mess. Only lying, cheating and law breaking.

  • Kyle
    November 6, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    The Correct Term is Migrant.
    Latin American citizens didn’t ask the U.S. to support brutal right wing dictators for most of the 20th century either, but it happened and now people like you are complaining when your government’s foreign policy has consequences.
    Besides you miss the point. U.S. citizens consume more than anyone else in the world, and you better believe that their willing to save a few cents off of their produce and supermarkets.
    You’re also wrong on another count. U.S. citizens aren’t taking the jobs even when they pay a great deal. Michael Bianco, the person that employed Garcia, still has yet to fill the positions that were left vacant after the ICE raid despite competitive wages.
    There is honor in the pursuit of happiness, in the dream of a better life for your family. It’s just people like yourself don’t care about these people simply because they were born on a different piece of land than you.
    This is my last message to you. It is clear that you are heartless, misled, short on facts, and not worth my time. Save your hate for another migrant because you’re messing with a Guatemalan here, and I stand up for them against the thousands of haters like yourself everyday because they don’t have the privilege to be able to speak for themselves without fear of getting deported.
    You have just been owned by the Gringo Chapin.

  • Frank
    November 6, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    No, migrant is not the correct term for someone in this country without papers. The government term is “illegal alien”. Spin all you want but it doesn’t make it so.
    Our government’s policies haven’t been the American citizen’s policies for some time now. We plan on cleaning house ASAP!
    No, law abiding,loyal Americans are not willing to save money on their purchases through illegality. We don’t anyway when you factor in the health, education and welfare we have to subsidize for these illegal through our tax dollars and the loss of American jobs.
    There is no honor in pursuing a better life through breaking laws. To say that is to say that it is ok for a bank robber to rob a bank “because he is pursing a better life for himself”.
    I am heartless for respecting our immigration laws and expecting immigrants to come here legally? You have some strange reasoning there. Where do you get hate out of that? You are the hater and the heartless one to advocate these illegal foreigners doing this to Americans.

  • Liquidmicro
    November 7, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    Illegal Aliens Defined
    By Mike Cutler
    illegal (adj.): not according to or authorized by law: unlawful, illicit; also: not sanctioned by official rules (as of a game)
    An interesting editorial ran in the New York Times about a week ago. Written by Lawrence Downs, it glosses over many facts where illegal immigration is concerned. Had Al Gore not written a book about global warming entitled “An Inconvenient Truth,” that title would serve this debate quite well.
    It is important to understand that the folks who advocate for open borders and essentially uncontrolled immigration use two primary tactics to further their agendas. They either resort to an Orwellian “Newspeak,” or, they accurately define a problem that presents a significant dilemma, but then propose a solution that makes no sense and may well exacerbate the original problem. This enables such deceptive individuals with the opportunity to push a “solution” that furthers their goals.
    In considering the first tactic of using false language to obfuscate an issue, I would point to former President Jimmy Carter, who began this process where illegal immigration is concerned. He demanded that (former) INS employees stop using the term illegal alien and replace it with the more genteel (and clearly deceptive) term undocumented worker. The current occupant of the White House, George W. Bush, has offered to “legalize the immigrants,” a statement that is amazing when you consider that this is the equivalent of offering to “make water wet.” Immigrants are legal: they have green cards and they are on the path to United States citizenship. They can bring their immediate family members legally to the United States as immigrants in their own right. They can take virtually any job they are qualified to do. How much more legal would the President make them? In point of fact, he was really saying that he wanted to make illegal aliens legal, but apparently understood the reaction to such an offer would have been swift, overwhelming and rancorous.
    When I raise these issues in debates, my opponents often criticize the use of the word “alien” because they claim it sounds as though aliens came from another planet. The reality is that the term alien is as old as the Constitution. And, the Immigration and Nationality Act, the body of laws that govern the entry and presence of aliens in our country, defines an alien as simply being any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States. Period. There is no insult to this definition. This is not in any way, shape of form similar to the “n” word. In fact when we, as Americans, travel to other countries, those countries refer to us as being aliens. And they have no compunction about using the term.

  • Liquidmicro
    November 7, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Some confuse misdemeanor and felony criminal acts with that of civil and criminal acts. To put it in an even more simplistic context; if I am the one going against you in court, it is civil, if the government is taking you to court, it is criminal.
    In civil law, a private party (a corporation or individual person) files the lawsuit and becomes the plaintiff. In criminal law, the litigation is always filed by the government, who is called the prosecution.
    Criminal law is much better known to laymen than civil law. They often misapply principles from criminal law to situations in civil (e.g., tort) law, which results in their misunderstanding.
    Illegally entering the US is a crime. Unlawful presence is not a federal crime. However, it is a removable offense under the Immigration Act. As illegal immigrants are not citizens of the U.S., they do not have the same rights as a U.S. citizen. Their deportation hearing takes place before an immigration judge. Since the penalty is deportation and not a fine or jail time, many people think of the Immigration Court as a civil court. In fact, the Immigration Court more closely resembles the criminal court, as it is the government prosecuting the offense.
    Under federal law, illegally entering the country is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to six months in prison for a first time. A second offense carries up to two years. If an immigrant has been prosecuted and deported and then sneaks back into the country, he can be charged with a felony punishable by up to two years behind bars. Those with criminal records can get 10 to 20 years.
    Many of those who give political shelter to these illegal aliens attempt to claim that many of those illegal’s are not actually criminals, as they entered the country legally, but failed to leave when required to do so. This is a false claim. Most have crossed the border illegally; a criminal act.

  • Crock
    November 7, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    Law abiding American citizens did not invite them to pick our food or any of the other things you mentioned.
    Oh! That food is extremely tasty, I did not know it was “illegal” food.

  • Liquidmicro
    November 7, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    “Ricardo Gomez Garcia was threading U.S. military backpacks and the Pentagon was paying him for it!”
    Again everyone is guilty by association, when the facts are the Government contracted to a manufacturer, the manufacturer hired persons to fulfill the order.
    Now according to the “bleeding hearts” the Government hired the ‘Illegal Immigrant’ and/or is ‘Guilty by Association’, when at the same time they don’t want to admit that these ‘Illegal Immigrants’ use false documentation to obtain this work and/or the fact that the manufacturer may have also supplied these documents for cheap labor to make a bigger profit. Known as Slave Labor. John Bowe: Nobodies
    (The idea from some that these immigrants are coming to America to do the jobs Americans do not want to do does not stand up to scrutiny. Drywall jobs in Los Angeles have gone to slave and day labor. Construction jobs across the country have gone to slave labor. Meat packing plants, Florida fruit farms, Texas cattle ranches… And the diabolical outcome of giving illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, as in 7 of the states including Michigan, is that they will also take over trucking and distribution jobs. These aren’t jobs Americans don’t want to do. These are jobs businesses want illegal immigrants to infiltrate to drive down wages.
    There are also those that say “so, what. Those people are making more money here than they would back home.” Ask your African American friends “what’s wrong with slavery if you have a better standard of living on the plantation than you would trying to make it on your own?”)
    They refuse to see that, we too, want what is good for the ‘Illegal Immigrant’, for them to not be exploited by employers, but at the same time Illegal immigration causes low wages for the unskilled. Low wages for the unskilled American Citizens cause many of these American Citizens to lapse in to hopelessness, despair, drug use, and wind up in prison or dead.
    For most on the ANTI side, it is about economics for our country, it is the exploiters (Big Business/Corporations) vs the exploited (Illegal Immigrants). You may not fully realize whose side you are playing for.

  • Mister T
    November 8, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    “There is no honor in pursuing a better life through breaking laws.”
    LOL! Tell that to people who speed, jaywalk and run red lights. They fall into the same category, that is, people who commit civil offenses.
    As far as subsidizing undocumented workers, your real complaint is with the employers who are pocketing the profits. The net economic effect of undocumented workers is a very high positive in our country.

  • Frank
    November 8, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Mister T, those jaywalking citizens etal usually get a ticket and pay the price. Illegals just stay here hiding out with no penalities for their actions. I didn’t know that jaywalking was “pursuing a better life”.
    It is true we have our own home grown law breakers so we don’t need to import more with illegal foreigners to add to it. Citizens have a right to be in this country, lawbreakers or not. But illegal aliens don’t even belong in this country.
    I have a problem with both the employers who hire illegals and the illegals themselves. They are both breaking the law and no, illegals are not a net positive to this country.

  • Horace
    November 8, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    “The net economic effect of undocumented workers is a very high positive in our country.”
    Every low pay illegal alien in this country will take more out of our treasury than he puts in, and more out of Social Security than he puts in, if given amnesty and citizenship. They pay little in the way of net taxes, and guess who has to make up for their shortfall, yes, we the taxpayers. What I’ve just said applies to the working poor citizen in this country, but we can’t deport citizens. We can deport illegal aliens, however, and this we will do. These are the facts that the advocates of illegal immigrants are confronted with, but can’t accept. Americans don’t matter to advocates in the mathematics of the equation of illegal immgration. Advocates believe that the white middle class is deserving of punishment, for all of the historical indescretions cited in almost every article in this blog. Do we wish to entrust our fates as citizens to those whose opinion is that we are historically a nation of criminals, and deserve the fate that karma would impose upon us? I think not. Americans have no notions of suicide.

  • Horace
    November 8, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Mr. T said: “LOL! Tell that to people who speed, jaywalk and run red lights. They fall into the same category, that is, people who commit civil offenses.”
    Technically you’re right Mr. T, but unfortunately for your point, the mood of the citizenry is far less tolerant of illegal immigration than jaywalking, and for good reason. Lets’s compare the two. Jaywalkers risk only risk their lives by their actions and illegal parkers are more a nuissance than a hazard, although this is not always the case. Aside from unlawful entrant maids and landscapers, we receive the criminal element of Latin America: rapists, murderers, child molesters, MS-13 gang members, drivers who drink while driving, drug dealers, drug growers, the contageously ill, drug makers and other criminals running away from their homeland police authorities. Gee, that’s about equivalent to jaywalking or illegal parking, isn’t it? Let’s just open up the borders to everyone, without regard to character.

  • Diana Joe
    November 12, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    The United States applaudes itself for being the Nation of Laws-bologna!
    We have monumental movements that predict how we can be prosecuted for the mere offense of a child not properly harnessed in a vehicle-and on the same note we applaude ourselves with the removal of children from their underdocumented parents?!
    Whats wrong with the picture geniuses?
    We are a counrty that is in complete denial of the arrogance and bastardised forms of living,and furthermore we have come to believe our own lies.
    We the People of the United States sounds good for only a handfull of us anymore.

  • Frank
    November 12, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    Children are always welcome to accomany their illegal alien parents back to their home countries. You do realize that many Mexican parents leave their children behind in Mexico with a single parent or another relative to jump our borders, don’t you? That is a separation by their choice!
    By the way Mexico has immigration laws. Guess you are ok that though, right? The U.S. is mean and evil for having immigration laws but not Mexico?

  • Horace
    November 17, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    “We the People of the United States sounds good for only a handfull of us anymore.”
    If you hate this country so much Diana Joe, I suggest that you emigrate to someplace where you’d feel more comfortable. If I hated it as much as you do, I’d probably move to New Zealand. I’ve been there and it’s a nice place and far enough away from the U.S. that you wouldn’t be reminded of the nasty European conquistas or the government and legal and socioeconomic systems we’ve established. I suggest that you do so legally, however, as they might just deport you. You’d probably object to deportation, but I suspect that liquidmicro, frank and EOT would come to your defense.

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