U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says Pastor Noe Garcia of Guatemala is a "repeat immigration violator."

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Congregants and area religious leaders are holding prayers for the beloved pastor of an evangelical church near Echo Park, after he was detained by immigration authorities for evading deportation, they claim.

Pastor Noe Carias is being held at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center and faces deportation after a routine check-in with an immigration officer early this week.

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Carias, 42, who is originally from Guatemala, was deported for the first time in 1993 after he came into the country without documentation as a teenager. He returned to the United States and ignored a second deportation order two years later, according to the L.A. Times. In recent years, he received two stays, but was denied a third one this week, the Times reports.

His wife Victoria, a U.S. citizen, is left taking care of their two young children, who are also citizens.

“Emotionally, it’s been very hard for them,” Mrs. Carias tells CBS2 News. “They cry at night. They miss their father. I miss my husband deeply.”

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ICE provided a written statement on the case reading, “Mr. Carias is a repeat immigration violator who has assumed multiple identities and nationalities over the years in order to evade federal immigration enforcement. During previous encounters with immigration authorities, his actions have established a pattern of misrepresentation or deception to law enforcement, resulting in his removal from the United States on at least three occasions.”

President Trump won the 2016 Presidential election partly on promises to crack down on people in the country illegally, including “bad hombres” with criminal histories or previous deportation orders.

Church members and leaders of other congregations, however, are holding on to the faith that Carias will soon return to Cristo La Roca de Poder church in Historic Filipinotown, sending letters to ICE about his case.

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