PACOIMA (CBSLA) — A father of two is in an ICE detention center and his family wants him home.
“Where you are born shouldn’t determine how your life and your future should be in this world,” says Araceli Galvez, “Everyone’s the same.”
Not according to immigration officials. Galvez was talking about her fiance, Raymond Torres, father of their two children.
KCAL9’s Cristy Fajardo spoke to Araceli who had been — up until a few days ago — prepping for her upcoming wedding day.
Instead, she’s holding fundraisers at his mother’s restaurant in Pacoima.
Galvez says he was picked up by ICE on January 11 while dropping their young son at school.
“You guys are breaking up families and it’s not fair,” Araceli said, choking back tears.
The family believes Torres — who’s now 30 — was targeted by ICE because he had a DUI years ago and was also busted as a teenager for marijuana possession.
They say he was brought to the U.S. from Mexico — illegally — as a 2-year-old. Torres built his life in the Valley. coached youth football, worked at a solar panel company and had two children with Galvez.
The couple was planning to marry in April, on their 10th anniversary.
“She is [now] the breadwinner of the house,” says Araceli’s sister, Abigail Arrellano, “she only works two-three days of the week, part-time, to take care of the kids.”
The family has hired a lawyer and they are collecting letters from the kids he coaches and co-workers telling the judge about his character.
“He donates to the community, he goes to schools — San Fernando High, San Fernando Middle — he talks to the kids to keep them away from negative people, keep them busy and educated,” said Arrellano.
Still, the family is nervous about which way the hearing will go Thursday. They fear he could be deported to a country he has never known, where he no longer has family. He also doesn’t speak the language and would be left with no way to support his family back here.
“We miss him terribly,” Areceli said ,”the kids miss him terribly. we just want him home. We want him home safe.”
The family is hoping the judge will grant bail on Thursday so Torres can fight his deportation.
Fajardo asked for a comment from ICE and immigration officials and did not hear back.